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The Quilt

The Quilt

As I faced my Maker at last judgement, I knelt before the Lord along with the other souls . Before each of us laid our lives, like the squares of a quilt. An angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and all the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of the truth …The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been.

My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness and death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it.

I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I had spent many lonely nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully: each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgemental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it had been…I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with eyes opened wide.

Then I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, The Face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with love and warmth in his eyes. He said: “Every time you gave over your life to me, it became my life, my hardships, and my struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let me shine thru, until there was more of me than there was of you.”

 

The Butterfly Effect

Not long ago, I finally told the story of when, at the age of twenty-three, homeless and scared, I was given guidance in a most unusual fashion by an old man named Jones.

What the old man told me did nothing less than change my life and my future. He said…”With a little perspective you can live a life of permanent purpose.”

When I asked what he meant, the old man answered with a question. “Do you sometimes find yourself unconsciously judging your actions by level of importance?

I frowned a bit, not certain I understood. “For instance,” he continued, “the time you spend with friends is important, but the time you spend with family, is more important. You might rank an hour fishing as very important, thirty minutes visiting a sick friend in the hospital much more important than the fishing, and a sixty second conversation with a convenience store clerk as not very important at all.”

I nodded my understanding and he returned to his initial point. “When you know that everything matters – that every move counts as much as any other – you will begin living a life of permanent purpose. A life of permanent purpose will make you a better parent, a better spouse, and a more valuable friend. Your productivity and financial success will soar to new heights while the old days of uncertainty, doubt, and depression fade into the past.”

Of course, that conversation with Jones changed me. But even more, it became the guiding force that produced the kind of speaker and author I have become. You see, I understand fully that my very value as an author and speaker must ultimately be judged by the success you achieve. And as I consult with companies or speak to organizations and teams, I am keenly aware that much of my client’s (your) ability to succeed beyond imagination depends upon my ability to prove this very concept!

When a sales organization sees proof that casual conversations in town matter just as much as an arranged meeting with a major prospect –

When the second string right-guard sees proof that his every action on and off the field, whether he plays or not, is as critical to the team’s successful season as everything the starting quarterback does –

When a teenager sees and understands proof that every choice made in leisure today will affect the choices that will be available to him in more pressing times ahead –
When one lives a life of permanent purpose, sales figures soar, team chemistry thrives, and teenage decisions become wiser and more cautious. And these are just a few examples of what will happen…Simply put, when we understand that every action matters, every result of our actions immediately improves!

In these pages, I know you will find hope and direction for yourself, but I am most excited that you will now be equipped to lead others to their own life of permanent purpose!

My hope for our families, our places of worship, our businesses, our nation, and our world is an incredible life of permanent purpose that can be achieved when at last we understand: Every move we make and every action we take, matters not just for us, but for all of us…and for all time.

What you just read was an excerpt from Andy Andrews’ book, The Butterfly Effect.