Stories are what we gather to explain the path of our lives. We take these stories, these individual threads, to the loom of Time, and weave them there into the fabric of how we have lived. I love the walk through the crazy marketplace of this world, everyone draped in the beautiful fabric of their lives. You see colors and patterns that catch your eye, some that make whistle in admiration, some that make bite your lip to prevent yourself from asking “What the hell were you thinking?”.

Renaissance Weekend, last month, was all about this marketplace. We traded story upon story, and came away with a deeper appreciation of what we can do with the fabric of our lives. Here’s a brief one from Andrea, who I met there on the “unexpected destinations” panel:
When she was growing up in South Africa, the rest of the continent was off limits to her – Apartheid made white South Africans persona non grata in “liberated” countries. But once Apartheid fell, she traveled to make up for lost time.

As a young woman, she traveled not with money, but with extra clothes that she would barter for what she needed. It was just safer that way. This strategy worked uneventfully until one day she approached an elderly merchant in the market to trade a pair of jeans for, oh I can’t remember what. He pointed to the rip on one of the knees and explained that, in this condition, they weren’t worth very much.

She explained to him that they were an excellent pair of jeans, and that tears like that were the height of fashion in Europe.

He shook his head slowly and with the voice of a patient counselor explained back to her: “Young lady – when you’re rich, having holes in your jeans means you’re fashionable. When you’re poor, it just means that you’re poor.”

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