At some point during this journey I knew I needed to give up. Surrender. Recognize that I needed to live in the desert in order to reconnect with something greater than myself. Early on in this desert place I felt like giving up quilting, teaching and writing. I mistook this place for an ending as I’d forgotten that the desert is a place of rest and refreshment. A place to shed layer after layer after layer of things I’d put on to hide behind in order to be something I’m not. As a Catholic we practice Lent leading into Easter and sometimes Christmas as well. We intentionally give up something good to help us focus in on something better, the Ultimate Good, the others around us. Part of the practice is taking on another good – more prayer time, good reading, quiet, time spent with family and most importantly examining our lives seeing what we can give up permanently that will honor God, ourselves and our neighbor. The last few years I’ve chosen to give up making negative comments in the car while driving. If you’ve ever driven in a large city you understand the way traffic can cause an angry attitude and how that can effect the day and others around you. I’ve chosen to pray for and bless the person. What a difference it made for me.
Giving up expectations is a good thing A very good thing. I may have a reasonable expectations of a person or situation however those expectations can, and often do, create anxiety on my part. (Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God/USCCB website). The only thing I can control, really truly control is my actions and reactions.
Giving in is not the same thing as giving up. Giving up would be forgetting the whole thing, not teaching any more, not quilting any more, not taking the risk to compete. Giving in meant, this time, accepting the desert for the gift that it is, honoring the time, however long it took, to take this journey. Whew. Giving in was tough. I had to accept that the desert is where I needed to be. It’s just like quilting, when I give in to my instincts, trust my gut, the quilt turns out better than expected. While I quilted at play I had to trust my gut and go with it changing the plan I’d laid out.
Over the years giving into the process of quilting has allowed me to embrace free motion machine quilting as a strong part of who I am as a quilter. To say that I resisted learning to machine quilt would be an understatement. Eventually the gentle whispers, the skill involved and variety of stitching wooed me. I just could not do what was in my head by hand. The more I stitched, played with the tension, developed a better understanding of needles and threads, tried new batting and fabric, new ways of basting until I learned what I’m comfortable with so that my personal quilting style developed as a result.
Giving in leads to giving over. This part of the process has more to do with conversations, thinking and prayer. This part leads to a deeper acceptance and willingness to let go. It means personal changes that come from the desert/Lent/examination of conscience time. This too is a process that takes time and needs its own pace. It’s filled with moments in the desert. (As I type this I keep thinking about dessert.) As the idea for the blog came together the one prayer that filled my thoughts is the prayer of St. Ignatius:
Take Lord, receive all my liberty; my memory, my understanding, my entire will; All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me; To you Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours, do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.
This prayer is set to music and is one of the sweetest ear worms that happens.