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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Unfinished Business

Recently I found the following journal entry, which I wrote for a college class many, many years ago. I was 20 at the time. Who was I to be philosophizing?

Last year I got to thinking about unfinished business. I decided that living one's life is like weaving a rug.If you leave any threads untied or broken, they may hold secure as long as you're weaving. At the least stress, though, no matter how tightly you weave—maybe even as you're pulling it off the loom—the ends might loosen throughout and the rug fall apart.

I had gone through one of those familiar phases of trying to shape my actions around a few choice mottoes and proverbs. In this particular round, I paid off debts, confessed bygone mistakes and even went so far as to throw away some old, special letters I'd been saving. Once in awhile, I even cleaned my room.

I tend to overdo a few things. Well, sometimes I over-everything. It wasn't long before I was neatly wrapping up relationships that had been giving me trouble for awhile. Somehow, the idea of finishing business turned into not getting involved in any kind of business at all—that is, not getting into situations that would leave me obliged to anyone. That meant sticking to the basic necessities of socialibility and friendship and not cultivating any relationships that would leave a lasting, maybe bothersome impression on me afterward.

It didn't take long to see that those obligations and troubles were the brighter threads in the rug, and that the whole pattern looked pretty dismal without them. They were time-consuming, and difficult, but the end result was so much finer when they were included.

I also saw the nonsense in trying to tie off a thread before coming to the end of it. Use it until it comes to its end, then tie it off with a necessary bit sticking out behind the knot. Deciding to tie it off halfway through leaves a long end trailing off, looking clumsy and messy in the rug. Really, cutting anything off before it's finished is painfully wasteful.

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