Splicing Life Together

Life's just a perpetual piecing together
of broken bits.
Author Edith Wharton

The spliced electric fence caught my eye as we were building fence.

I thought about how that fence could be a metaphor for living life. Things break. Relationships break. But we build fences between people. We splice together relationships. We find a way to fuse the old and the new.

As Randy and I worked on the fencing project, he talked about doing the job with his dad. Those miles of wire we have stored on spools are reused until they are too rusty to splice. So for several years after Melvin's death, Randy would come across splices in the electric fence wire that had been put together by his dad. Melvin had his own way to twist the wire together that made his style distinct from Randy's handiwork. As a left-handed helper, I have my own signature style, too.

Those splices in the fence represent a place that was broken. But when the wire is wound together in splicing, it can create something stronger than the original version.

We seem to find those connections that bind us together - whether it's family or church family or friends. At church, I typically sit near a family with three elementary-aged kids. Our prayer hymn this past Sunday was "Jesus Loves Me."

From a couple of rows behind, I heard the crystal-clear voice of a little singer belting out every word. And I again thought about the things that tie us together.
Photos from a church Christmas program back in the 1990s
That little singer's Mommy was in my Joyful Noise choir with my kids at church years ago, and I taught her those same words. Now she's teaching those words to her own kids and other children at church. More years ago than I like to admit, when I was a little girl, my own mom led the group singing in the basement of the Byers United Methodist Church. Her mama had taught her the words years before. And the legacy winds its way backwards and forwards, connecting us all.
A poster on the wall in the Byers UMC nursery
Sanctuary, Byers UMC, Photo taken June 2011

The same sense of connection strikes me every week as I hear those children recite The Lord's Prayer, word for word, just like Christ followers for generation after generation.
Sunday afternoon, as I decorated the Christmas tree, the connections felt more secure than some of the ornament hangers.
The oldest ornament on my tree is one my Grandma Leonard made when I was a little girl. This little choir boy has lost his hanger thread and he seems to have a permanent crick in his neck, but I always nestle him among the branches in a prominent place so I can see him and remember my grandparents.

I have more ornaments than space to hang them these days. But I made room for another special little angel, too. My late mother-in-law made it one year. The little angel might be having a bad hair day, but she's still beautiful to me. Even though Marie never had the opportunity to meet her great-granddaughters, Kinley and Brooke will sit under a tree decorated with some ornaments hand-fashioned with her crafty skills long ago and look at wonder at the nativity set she made in a long-ago ceramics class.

My house doesn't look like the ones on HGTV. And that's OK. I'd rather have the memories than perfectly matched holiday finery. It's these little bits and pieces that help us to splice together the memories of holidays past and strengthen these present days - kind of like links in a paper chain wrapped around a Christmas tree.

This interconnection in life has been a recurrent theme in my world in the past few weeks. Just yesterday, these words were in the epilogue of a book I'd been enjoying:
There is a river that runs through time and universe, vast and inexplicable, a flow of spirit that is at the heart of all existence, and every molecule of our being is part of it. And what is God but the whole of that river?
From This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

It's those things that splice our lives together ... and make us strong for our journey.

P.S.: I recommend the book. I also recommend Krueger's Ordinary Grace.