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My Life is but a Weaving

Woman Weaving

My life is but a weaving between my God and me,
I do not choose the colours, He worketh steadily.
Ofttimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent, and shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the skilful Weaver’s hand
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.

A friend of mine, having just discovered the above poem, posted it on his facebook page, and in the conversation I realised that, although I have found it helpful and used it in sermons and services and tragic funerals, I have never posted it as a resource on this site.

I learnt to weave, and I wove my own stoles. My father was an expert on Persian carpets and Kilims. In some weaving traditions, the weaver begins with a pattern, a plan, but mistakes are inevitable. Things do not go according to plan. The master weaver is one who can incorporate the “mistake” into a new, unique masterpiece. That is another weaving metaphor for God.

I’ve found the poem attributed to Corrie Ten Boom. I’m not sure if that is correct. My friend’s version has an additional stanza:

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.

I think the poem is better without that.

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In my many travels I have often sat with weavers all over the world. I am sure that I have photos of weaving like the above image but at present I do not have the extra time to dig one out.

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6 Responses to My Life is but a Weaving

  1. I think that the poem is beautiful and skillfully written.

    I’m a bit leery as it opens the door to the folk who come along side a grieving parent, child or spouse who has suffered the death of a loved one and emphatically state that the loss was all part of God’s plan, that God needed the loved one more than they did, that God was behind the death.


    • Totally agree, of course, Br David, about the dreadful pious nonsense that some people say to those suffering. Blessings.

  2. I like to reflect on how a weaving can be metaphor for community, with the different threads representing different people and relationships being part of the pattern of our lives, part of how we express who we are.

  3. I had only seen this as quoted by Corrie ten Boom and also doubted that the last four lines were part of the poem (mainly because I’d seen them quoted separately elsewhere). But I’ve just been searching to find the author, and according to this, the complete poem does include those four lines!


    Husband of Ella Williams.
    Known residency: Tallahatchie Co, MS and Mississippi Co, AR
    Life is But a Weaving

    My life is but a weaving
    Between my God and me.
    I cannot choose the colors
    He weaveth steadily.
    Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
    And I in foolish pride
    Forget He sees the upper
    And I the underside.
    Not ‘til the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly
    Will God unroll the canvas
    And reveal the reason why.
    The dark threads are as needful
    In the weaver’s skillful hand
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned
    He knows, He loves, He cares;
    Nothing this truth can dim.
    He gives the very best to those
    Who leave the choice to Him.

    Benjamin Malachi Franklin 1882-1965 wrote the poem in the late forties. It was first published in ‘The Memphis Commercial Appeal’ newspaper in 1950, per his grandson Bob Corley.

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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