As a little girl one of my favorite things to do was to make potholders on a little loom. I loved pulling the small loops of many colors tightly across, and the challenge to get some of them to stay in that place of tension. The beauty was created as I wove other loops over, under, and across. The loose threads and tense threads woven together created an item that had meaning and purpose.
As an adult, my grandmother fell down the stairs and as a result had brain damage. She was unable to continue with the activities she loved and was very bored. I remembered the little loom and gave her one. She made hundreds of potholders over the course of the next few years. Her little crooked fingers could barely stretch those loops across, but she stayed with the difficulty knowing that beauty would come in her little creation, and it had purpose. It wasn’t easy for her, but certainly meaningful.
Making those potholders gave Sweet Granny and I each a purpose at a point in life when we needed it. They allowed us to cope during chapters of our life stories.
Now, these little looms are symbols for me of what it is to be a Chaplain. I think of Chaplains as the looms. The threads stretched across and held in tension are the warp threads. The woven pieces are the weft threads.
Something happens in life that causes tension, whether it be sickness, change of condition, death, grief, or many other things. The warp threads represent these difficult experiences.
In any situation, people have all of who they are in order to cope through these experiences and emotions. The weft threads represent those emotions, copings skills, beliefs, etc.
As Chaplains, we are the looms, standing with others, holding those warp threads of tension. We do this in offering support, and creating a safe place for them to pull out those weft threads of emotion, beliefs, and coping. As they grieve. As they celebrate. All at the same time. All so confusing and consuming. We don’t weave the weft threads for them, but we normalize and validate their emotion, and through it all hopefully they find some way of weaving it all together while creating an individual meaning…another chapter in their story which they will carry with them forever.
Kim D Crawford 3.27.15