Life is what it “seams:” Stitching the stories of our lives

Guest Column

Author Toni Morrison, said, “I remember a very important lesson that my father taught me when I was 12 or 13. He said, ‘You know, today I welded a perfect seam and I signed my name to it.’ And I said, ‘But, Daddy, no one’s going to see it!’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but I know it’s there.’”

In a book I was reading, one of the characters commented that the time of day was “the hour that’s the seam between day and night.” What a visual image that paints — that literally there are interlacing threads between day and night that stitch the entities together as a unifying whole. I liken it to items of clothing that, at one point in time, are separate pieces of fabric until they’re sewn together to create an entirely different article that makes the separateness fade into obscurity. And, while we may not notice the seam in our clothing or the seam on that tool we’re using or the seam between day and night, we surely notice it when it’s missing.

This “seam” metaphor got me thinking about the many ways in which different facets of our lives thread together to write our stories. And how, sometimes, though we may recognize that which stitches us and other entities together, we don’t always appreciate what that seam represents in the totality of the life experience. Those seams may be the difference between being connected or alone, being employed or jobless, being free or controlled, being loved or unnoticed, being fulfilled or empty, being learned or ignorant, being present or absent, and so much more. Whatever that seam may be, it represents something for which we ought to be grateful.

Let’s just think for a moment about each seam we may take for granted. The love that’s the seam between parent and child means I have someone in my life that I love and who loves me in return. The work ethic that’s the seam between employee and company means I have a job that allows me to make ends meet. The commitment that’s the seam between husband and wife, brother and sister, friend and friend means I am not alone. The talent that’s the seam between musician and instrument means I get to enjoy creating and being a part of culture. The loyalty that’s the seam between country and soldier means I get to exercise freedom of choice. The training that’s the seam between educator and student means I get to pour value into others’ lives. And the hour that’s the seam between day and night means I’ve lived to see another day.

As Toni Morrison’s dad said, though no one else may ever see that seam he created with his welding instrument, he knows it’s there and that’s what matters. We know and are known by the seams that weave us together in the story that is our life. What do your “seams” look like — are they frayed, torn, tattered and unkempt or are they neat, clean, together and groomed? It matters because… Your life is what it “seams” and it has your name written all over it.

About Terilyn Goins, Ph.D. 66 Articles
Dr. Terilyn J. Goins is a motivational speaker/vocalist, trainer and coach. She offers a wide variety of training and motivational music programs. Goins creates programs that educate, inspire and challenge participants. Visit or reach her at 757-303-7807 or by email at

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