Some assembly required

For all that I love working with yarn and making fabrics, one art that I haven’t really been tempted to take up is quilting.  I love how quilts look, I appreciate the skill and artistry in making them, but I haven’t wanted to try it myself.  At least, not until now.

Today, amid the swirl of online conversations that I have skimmed in and out of, postage-stamp quilts were mentioned.  I took the opportunity to go looking for images, and found plenty — ask your favorite image-search engine for “postage stamp quilts,” and see for yourself.  Such a simple idea, so infinitely versatile.

The friend who first mentioned the quilts, a lovely and wise friend, had this to say, which I’m still thinking about:

“Something about [one particular postage-stamp quilt] makes me think of infinity.  The work that went into it — the saved scraps, the painstaking cutting, the eye-straining stitching, the quilting — also breathtaking.  Whoever made it worked from poverty and created abundance.”

To work from poverty and create abundance.  Such a metaphor.  Such a picture of what life can be like, taking our bits and pieces and meagre talents and limited energy and making something from it, something beautiful and meaningful, something intentional, something personal and vibrant and finished and whole.

I think about my intentions and my lack of intentions and the work I pick up from day to day, the way I feel so inadequate to meet the challenges of life, the way I feel occasionally, briefly, like I’ve done something really good, stitched together my words in a meaningful way — and then the next day, I’m fumbling again, stumbling and mumbling again, distracted and moping again, anxious and shirking my work again.  Does it all add up to something good?  Am I sewing together things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable?  Am I rushing through my piecing, am I letting my corners get sloppy and my stitches uneven?  Am I building something that will last? Something that matters?  Does it matter if I do?

Am I working toward abundance?  If my eyes were opened to it, would I find abundance already here — in the bits and scraps, in the chances and circumstances of life as it already is, ready to be pulled together and sorted and cut and sewn into something new and beautiful?

Abundant life:  just add work and inspiration.  Some assembly required.

God in Heaven, open my eyes.

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