Sewing Without Thread

Sewing Without Thread

A Tailor sat in his shop with a heavy heart. He was usually cheerful but this day he was exceedingly discouraged and feeling blue. His only son, Otto, whom he had taught the tailoring business, was called into the army for war had come to his country.

The father had hoped to turn over his tailoring business to Otto in a few years for the strain of the work was too much for him because he was getting too old for such a busy life. And now Otto was gone. The mother who had not worked in the shop for years was trying to wait on the customers and help her husband. Both of them were grief stricken for their only son. When there were no customers in the shop they silently shed bitter tears. On the day when Otto had left home, both the father and mother imagined the very worst, thinking that they would never see him again.

But Otto wrote every day and the father and mother eagerly waited for the mail carrier to bring news from their son. But when Otto was moved closer to the battle front, he had less chance to write. The time between letters became longer and longer, at first a week and then a month. And now they had not heard from him for three months. Broken-hearted the aged mother pined her heart away, and her body became wasted and frail. The work in the shop was too much for her. One morning she did not wake. The angels of God had come during the night to take her soul to heaven.

Now Otto's father was all alone. One should think that the loss of his dear wife in addition to his grief for Otto from whom he had not heard for months, would have been too much for him. Instead, he seemed to be stronger and more courageous. In fact he was secretly happy that God had taken his wife from her grief and worry.

It was now six months since the father had heard from Otto. Then one day after months of almost hopeless waiting there came a letter with news about Otto. It was not written by Otto. It was written by someone else telling the father at what train to meet him. The father thought it strange that Otto had not written himself. What could it mean? He was filled with fear.

The father was at the station long before the train was due. Finally the train arrived and from it stepped his son accompanied by an army officer. As far as the father could see nothing had happened to Otto; he was a little thinner, but he had his eyes, hands and feet. With joy the father ran to embrace him, and not until then did he realize that something had happened to Otto. His son acted cold, indifferent and a bit queer; he hardly recognized his father. The father did not know what to make of it until the officer explained that Otto was shell-shocked which means that his mind was unbalanced and shocked by an exploding shell or bomb. He was a big man but his mind had become like that of a little baby.

The father said goodbye to the officer and led his son home. In the tailor shop Otto seemed to pick up new life and to be happier. It brought back faint memories to his dazed mind. At once, he insisted on helping his father with the tailoring. He seated himself before a sewing machine and started to sew. He did this until late that night, and the next morning he rose early to sew and sew and sew some more. His father insisted that he take some rest, but he seemed to be happy only when he was pushing yards and yards of cloth through the sewing machine.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, he sat in the front window of the shop sewing. Sometimes people would stop to watch him work so fast. But when they came closer to the window they saw that there was no thread in the machine. The sewing machine was running fast, and he was pushing yards of material under a needle that had no thread in it. There was no purpose in what this mentally unbalanced soldier was doing.

Life is not like that. There is a reason and a purpose behind everything that happens. Every flower, grass and tree, every creature and insect has a reason for its existence, for being alive. There is a reason for summer and winter, for spring and fall. There would be no fruit if the little bee did not fertilize the blossom by carrying pollen on its feet as it flits to and fro in search of honey. There is a reason why people get sick and get well, and why sometimes we must endure hardships and sometimes have great joys. We live so fast that sometimes we do not know why we live; there seems to be no purpose in what we do. We are running at top speed like the sewing machine, and we wonder whether there is a thread of purpose in life. The world is not like a fast running sewing machine without a thread. Otto, the unbalanced soldier, did not know why he was sewing, his only interest was to keep the machine going. God did not give us life just to make us live. There is a reason for living.

A tailor runs a sewing machine to make a suit. God runs a big world to make us the best kind of boys and girls, and men and women.

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