My grandpa was too old, and I was too young
To buck hay bales in the hot July sun,
So we sat by the truck in a puddle of shade,
And he taught me to weave the balin’ twine braid.
Welcome to my front porch. Campfire coffee’s perking over coals. Prop your feet up and join me gazing at the two hawks soaring in a cloudless, powder blue sky, circling in sync over the freshly planted Spring barley field. They’re in no particular hurry. Neither are we. If Eugene Peterson was with us, he’d say:
“Rescue us from a life in which the wonder has leaked out.”
We both take a Deep Breath of Remember, then swap stories ‘bout things that help us grow in our relationship with the Triune God we both love and serve. Here’s mine:
The balin’ twine braid is simple. You take three strands of baling twine, tie a knot in one end and start weaving the strands by crossing the outside one over the middle one, first left over middle, then right over middle, repeat.
Girls grasp this early as they braid their hair for beauty and practicality. For me, growing up without sisters, it took some training. But by age 12, with this simple routine passed down by my Grandpa Fred, I was creating lassoes, climbing ropes, bridles and halters for my horse, and a myriad of other cool farm-boy stuff.
It’s my go-to activity for remembering. Remembering is the crux of my faith. Ever notice how prominent remembering is on the pages of scripture? David rehearses the wonders and acts of God on behalf of His people repeatedly. So does Jesus. How marvelous it is that God remembers His covenant with us and acts accordingly to save, protect, and lead us through the trials and joys of life as He ushers in His kingdom!
There’s something intimate about remembering. Remembering slows us down. Weaving the balin’ twine braid creates a rhythm that breaks through the seductive pull of frenetic, heart-numbing activity.
We both take a few minutes to braid a foot-long strand of rope and tuck it in our back pocket.
Later, we pull out the intertwined rope, fondly notice wrap by wrap, and practice the healing rhythm called remember. Remember where we really need to go for affirmation. We see our Father wrapping Himself around us, calling us His own, telling us He loves us. We see Jesus wrapping Himself around us, smiling, pouring grace into our wounds like balm. We notice the Holy Spirit delighting in us, talking with us, listening to us, understanding us, and never leaving.
There’s another place to encounter this beautiful rhythm. At the end of each church service, our pastor sends us out with a benediction. We, the congregation, extend our hands to receive a blessing from God. It’s the final movement of God’s liturgy. God Commissions Us.
The benediction varies, but here’s an example:
“May the grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always.”
A good thing to tuck into your back pocket. Maybe your purse. Or, better yet, your heart.
Photo by Ron Silflow
Here’s another perspective on the Balin’ Twine Braid.
2 thoughts on “Feeling Frazzled? Frenzied? Stick This in the Back Pocket of Your Wrangler’s.”
Things that make me go, “Hmmm…” as I mull over your latest blog while I working at night…
Meditating on the Triune God by taking three separate strands and making them one in the “bailing twine braid”…. A good picture of the Trinity – three separate, but one… and how both can be true at the same time.
Interesting how the Triune God left behind the “finger print” of His “three” identity throughout His creation for us to discover…
-our physical realm is 3 dimensional – you can define the size of anything by length, width, and height
-you can define a location anywhere with an x. y, and z distance
-in geometry, three points define a plane (hence, a three-legged milk stool is stable anywhere)
-in music, three notes define a chord
-in science, the amounts of three colors (red, green, blue) can define any color
-created in God’s image, we are three-in-one… spirit, soul, and body
-[1Co 13:13 NLT] Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.
I believe the Preacher put this in context of marriage…
[Ecc 4:9-12 NASB] 9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
[Ecc 9:9 NASB] 9 Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.
God, husband, and wife… they enter marriage as separate, become braided together, and come out the other side as one. When you have a woman who knows you, but loves you anyway… thats a beautiful and valuable thing. God says that is one of His rewards to you during your labors on earth.
I came across this thought on the web, ” Braids are strong. Single strands fail, but woven into a cord – they become powerful.That isn’t only true of ROPE, but also of PEOPLE. In a way, as a believer, I live in the strength of a braided life. (http://randalldsmith.com/knowing-jesus-five-works-of-the-vinedresser-john-151-11-part-one/)
I got a glimpse of the subtle beauty and wisdom of your linking “waiting” with “bailin’ twine braid”. While waiting upon God, one day we look around and realize that we’ve been braided… Braided into God, braided into my wife, braided into other believers.
“…I live in the strength of a “braided” life….”
Robert, thanks again for your wonderful insights. My favorite, of course, is the three-legged milking stool! Also love “A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” What fabulous finger -prints of our Triune God.