Recently we renovated an old American hooked rug. Too many dogs, children up from the beach and normal usage had resulted in a distressed rug with a stray thread protruding from every side. The artist who renovated the rug assured me that all of the stray pieces would be returned to their place.
As he spoke I remembered when I shopped in India for a Persian rug. They were all multicolored, beautiful rugs but as I rejected each rug that was shown to me the shop owner became increasingly frustrated.
Finally, he confronted me: “Sir, these are all masterpieces. What more could you want? The artist lives in a small village outside of Delhi. I have visited him and watched his work. Carefully, slowly, he weaves the rugs and he has studied the style and techniques of artisans in Tabriz, Isfahan and Qom. Look at that wool, a fine sheep’s wool with bright colors and traditional patterns. They are made with natural dyes obtained from insects and plants. These rugs or the originals of these rugs date to the fourth and fifth century and often were a gift given to diplomats. How can you reject such wonderful works of art?”
By this time I was sufficiently embarrassed and hesitant to speak but summoning my courage I explained: “Sir, I am sure these are fine works but each carpet is flawed, see, they have a loose thread, usually black, dangling from one side. I want a perfect rug.”
“My dear friend, that loose thread is intentional. It is a symbol,” the shop owner replied.
”Of what?” I asked.
The unfinished thread tells us that all of life is imperfect and even the best life consists of imperfections.”
In the past year, suffering from the pandemic, I realized that life is imperfect. We all have flaws and we live in a world with flaws. One thread should always be left dangling as a reminder that whether it is a person, nature, or the world around us we live in an imperfect environment.
Remember the loose threads.