There is only one person with whom you travel an entire life journey. That is yourself. No matter if you enjoy the rare experience of a 50+-year marriage, or intimacy with a parent well into his or her nineties, you still travel solo.
We believe the Master Designer is at work weaving people together into an exquisite and unique tapestry – a piece of artwork beyond our human comprehension. The colors on the threads are the many people He weaves into your life journey, and into mine. They overlap, run in and out, but the design emerges, both calculated and stunning.
A Vibrant Thread
Let me share here about a “thread” in our life named Nurlan. This young man hails from Kazakhstan. We met him in his mid-twenties as he was a graduate student at a local institution. I remember the first time we met – at a Welcome Picnic for incoming international students. Nurlan’s eyes always danced, and they caught mine.
Full of enthusiasm and zest for life, Nurlan became a fast friend – but also an enduring one. Our first meeting was in 2006. And we have remained in contact, even though he is back in his home country now and we’ve all traveled through many changing landscapes in our lives.
Nurlan also became a de facto member of our family. Our kids – then early through late-elementary – loved this playful guy. He would join us at regular gatherings in our home, as well as on outings, such as hiking trips and trips to the snow and Yosemite. To this day, I remain so grateful for the many moments our lives wove together face-to-face.
A nominal Muslim, Nurlan returned home and faced some intense personal hardship in his family (illness) and then personal setbacks with his own health and job. He even was attacked (for his money) and beat up. He began to wonder what the purpose of getting his Master’s degree in America was for, and what was the end goal of his life. The purpose for his life journey began to blur.
During this season, Nurlan, my husband and I, communicated regularly and intensively via Facebook Messenger. He asked many questions. And he began to have dreams. Vivid dreams. One where Jesus stepped forward and spoke to him. One where he was at a crossroads and needed to make a choice. And, when he made that choice, it led to a field of peace.
He shared about all this and more. And he began to see his life journey more in eternal vs. temporal terms. As a result, Nurlan began to read the Bible. The words in the Bible began to make sense. It was as if his whole life he had been waiting for this.
Nurlan plugged into a small church of Christian believers in his city. He began to grow in his faith. And then, he got the opportunity to go with a small group to Israel and visit so many of the sites of biblical fame.
He told me during this time, via Messenger, this experience was a “game-changer” for him. Everything came to life in a new, vivid way. He felt closer to Jesus, more than ever.
Looking for the Big Picture
I heard again from Nurlan not long ago. It had been awhile. From his brief message, I got a sense he may be struggling now with his faith moving into a season of mediocrity. The plateau. Not just his faith, but his life. He is looking for clarity and direction again.
This happens on our life journey. Sometimes things seem crystal clear, other times not.
Nurlan’s life is woven together with ours, so we will try to help each other through the difficulties as well as celebrate the joys.
Nurlan has been a bright thread running through our lives. I pray we have been the same running through his. And perhaps someday we will be able to step back and see the pattern the Master Weaver has produced.
Who are the beautiful “threads” the Master Designer has woven into and through your life journey?