don’t pull the string

string As a child, I remember I loved Sunday mornings.  I would wake up, get my breakfast, and sit down to watch Adventures from the Book of Virtues on TV before church.

Each episode in the series was taken from mythology, Aesop’s fables, or any other story that involved a moral lesson.  To this day, I remember several stories I watched on that show.  One story in particular consistently comes to the forefront of my memory – “The Magic Thread.”

In this story, a young boy named Peter is frustrated with his life.  He is stuck in school and hates all the work; he can’t wait for the day when he will be done with school.  During this time, a woman approaches him with a spool of magic thread.

She tells him, “This is your life thread.  Do not touch it and time will pass normally. But if you wish time to pass more quickly, you have only to pull the thread a little way and an hour will pass like a second. But I warn you, once the thread has been pulled out, it cannot be pushed back in again.”

The boy is overjoyed.  At first, he tugs on the thread a bit to pass an hour or two in school.  Soon, he falls in love with a girl, and he can’t wait to be old enough to marry her.  He decides to pull the thread a little harder this time.  As you can imagine, throughout his life, as obstacles become more difficult, the more frequently he takes out his spool of thread, and the harder he pulls.  At the end of the story his children have moved on, his wife has died, and he is left all alone.  He finally realizes that by skipping over all the difficult parts of his life, he also missed the most beautiful times.

Fortunately, the story ends happily, as Peter wakes up, once again a young boy, and the whole thing was a dream.  He then learns to appreciate even the most boring lessons in school, because he has his whole lifetime ahead of him.

(Read the entire story here.)

I sometimes struggle with patience.  At times, I focus so much on the future that I’m tempted to miss out on the present.  However, in these times, I often think about this story of “The Magic Thread” and am reminded that each moment in life is a gift.  For example, throughout the four years that Tanner and I dated, I often wished I could pass by time so we could finally be married.  But, I made a conscious decision to enjoy that season.  Looking back, I am so grateful for those years that we spent getting to know each other without the responsibilities of marriage and our careers.  I have such beautiful memories of our days spent together, dreaming about our future.  And now that that future is here, I can enjoy it even more.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens…” -Ecclesiastes 3:1

Don’t forget to be grateful for whatever season you are in.  And regardless of how difficult that season may be, don’t be tempted to pull the string.