June 23, 2021

Pastoral Nuggets: Random Thoughts on Looms and Weave Sheds

Brother-Aaron-236x300It what now seems like another lifetime; I worked in the weave shed at a cotton mill in Langdale Alabama.

There were approximately two hundred or so of the old-fashioned shuttle type looms in that weave shed. (Picanol looms for all you readers who ever worked in a weave shed.)

And, oh my! They were some more loud! The first time I walked into that weave shed it sounded like the world was coming to an end!

The noise of those shuttles being thrown back and forth was so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think. And on top of that, the wooden floor literally moved beneath your feet to the rhythm of those looms.

It’s one of those experiences you encounter in life that is hard to verbalize to anybody who hasn’t been there.

As I entered that weave shed for the first time and began to look around, one of the first things that caught my attention was two “old-timers” standing in the middle of the weave shed having a conversation.

I thought to myself: “How in the world do they hear each other?” It took two or three days before I began to understand.

First off, you learn to read lips! But secondly, the brain, being the magnificent thing that it is, begins to differentiate and compensate for all the background noise. It learns to dial it back while simultaneously learning what you need to hear and amplifying that. It’s amazing!

In just a few short weeks I too could stand in the middle of that weave shed and carry on a conversation with somebody. And you can believe this or not, but in a weave shed filled with hundreds of looms, I learned to hear my looms. I could hear when one “slammed-off.” (Weaving terminology for a real sudden and violent stop!) I could hear when one shut down. And I could even hear when the pitch of a motor changed on one of my looms.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why I am writing this Pastor’s Column about looms and weave sheds. The reason is that life is a lot like those looms and that weave shed. As we are producing the product of our lives, our lives tend to become filled with background noises that will drown-out what we really need to hear. Oh yes!

Those noises are indeed associated with what we are doing.  But they are not the main thing! They are only the byproduct of a process. And it is incumbent upon us as Christians to “on purpose” train ourselves to learn how to minimize the noises we don’t need to hear, while simultaneously learning to listen to those things that are important.

You will recall the Biblical story of Elijah. After killing Jezebel’s prophets he received a death threat from her, had his Juniper Tree experience, and then went to Mount Horeb and hid in a cave.

While there, a great wind, a fire, and an earthquake occurred. But God wasn’t in those. Then there was a still small voice. In the midst of all the chaos of his life, God communicate with His prophet through a still small voice. He does the same today. Yes, God still speaks today. However, with all the noise of life, the question is:  Have we learned how to listen?

Jesus came into this world to seek and to save that which was lost. This was without a doubt a fulltime job! However, if you look closely, you will discover a Biblical pattern how that on regular intervals Jesus pulled aside and got alone with the Father. He learned to differentiate and compensate for all the background noise in His life, while simultaneously learning to amplify what He really needed to hear – a word from his Father! I wonder what our world would be like today if we learned to do the same!

Just some random thoughts on looms and weave sheds.

Brother Aaron


  1. Sondra Raiford says

    Very well said

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