wherein failure is holy

Twilight for NQAwhen I log onto the WordPress dashboard to write, check comments or upload photos for an upcoming blog I see the most recent comments. Robyn’s most recent comment is right there along with a photo of her face, a kindly face indeed. Robyn mentions that she’s reminded of something Brennan Manning said, going onto share the comment. I’d heard about Brennan Manning years go, in particular the Ragamuffin Gospel somehow through Rich Mullins. I took a moment and looked at Brennan’s website and found The Prodigal – the book itself is all about God’s grace and mercy told through the rise and fall of the pastor of a mega-church, how hard that fall and where he truly learns of God’s grace.

For years and  years I had this image of God with a very stern face, pointing out every failure and sin in my life. You know that image. We can all see it in our minds eye, the one that makes us turn away not only from God. And yet that is not the God of Scripture, it’s not the one that Jesus speaks of over and over again, it’s not the one we read of in the parable of the Prodigal Son. You know the loving, merciful Father who welcomes us home no matter what. The one who looks and watches and waits for us to return. The one who gives us his ring and cloak as a sign of love and welcome. That one. Because that is the God Jesus wants us to know. The God, the Father who extends grace and mercy to us. And it is that same Grace and Mercy that we are then asked to extend to others.

(side note: as I’m writing I’m listening to Pandora…here’s the song that started playing, Lord I Need You by Matt Maher, the lyrics just fit)

CAM00422In a beautiful way the internet through message boards, chat rooms, facebook, blogs, websites and the like has brought us as a quilting community together. We can interact with one another almost instantly, sometimes instantly. This is often really lovely. As quilters we can support our friends who are going through difficult times, we can respond to horrific tragedies such as the events in Japan, hurricanes and tornadoes devastating communities the death of spouses and friends, friends suffering from illness, friends who are in need; we can respond to joyful events too births and weddings and a school that needs to raise funds for a playground, just because moments. In all of this there are just loving, supportive comments. It’s really beautiful to watch!
And then there is the downside to all of this – wherein we are polarized and rip each other apart. Over what? The type of quilter, the style of quilting, the types of fabrics, thread, batting. Yeah, that.
Yes, I’ve said, “if it isn’t hand quilted, it’s not a quilt”. I’ve also shared very publicly that listening to The Quilt Show quilting legend Virginia Avery caused me to pause and think through what I was saying, how I was adding to that divisiveness in the quilting community. Virginia was speaking specifically about machine quilting – and how all quilts should be judged on the quality of their workmanship rather than how they were put together. Her comment has stayed with me all these years.
Do you see how the discussion moved from “we” to “I”? And not in a particularly fun or comfortable way. It’s not easy to admit playing a part of a larger problem (this isn’t the first or last time I’ll admit this – it’s just one more time for the benefit of the quilting community). A problem of divisiveness that goes beyond the quilting community but one I hope to help stem the tide in the quilting community. I do not have to like what anyone else does or quilts but I can be respectful.
This divisiveness and disrespect causes such deep heartache! I’m this type of quilter and I’m that type of quilter. We’re quilters, period. Because we are different as individuals we prefer a different style of quilting. We’re quilters. We are all unique, fascinating individuals and should be free to express ourselves in whatever form of quilting makes us happy, using whatever fabrics, batting and thread that make us happy. I’m still learning to be kinder and more sensitive to the styles, needs and sensibilities of other quilters. Just like growing up, growing in faith, learning to lean on God’s mercy and grace it’s a process. Just like we learn to quilt and develop our skill over time it’s a process. Just like we eventually learn the style of quilting that suits us best, it’s a process. When I was making that, “If it isn’t hand quilted it isn’t a quilt” comment I had NO idea that I would one day be a machine quilting teacher!
I’m reminded of the song, All Gods Creatures got a place in the choir.
We’re all different
We’re all unique
We all have something beautiful to offer

I’m going to continue working on appreciating that.

God bless!


PS – the title of today’s blog is wherein failure is holy and I sincerely mean that. Failure on my part has led to some really beautiful holy places

5 thoughts on “wherein failure is holy

  1. You said a mouth full. I am a tough nut and don’t care too much what people say or think, but I have been a machine/modern quilter from the beginning and I did hear a lot of the snobby quilter speak and I did extend grace and I did extend the phrase “bite me” once or twice (or more) to a few fellow quilters. I also met sooooo many more quilters who said “if it has layers and you sewed them together. ..it’s a quilt” . That’s who I try to be..even if I don’t get their vision, I can respect the process and the person. Art has ALWAYS been subjective. I likes me a “velvet elvis” of a quilt just as much as a “Mona Lisa”…maybe even a little bit more…There is just something about whimsy and coloring outside the lines that just brings me joy.

    1. Regena I like that you are a tough nut. I’m learning to not care what people think, it’s hard work indeed. You hit the nail on the head, Art is subjective and we can control what we say. Keep coloring outside the lines and using the whole box of crayons!

  2. Lovely post. Failure does have a way of leading us to the sacred…in so many areas of life.
    It hit me last week that when I call out the offenders or complain about the snobby quilters I become the very same type. I really dislike any Us and Them mentality (I rant and blog on it too often)…which means I need to appreciate and be kind to those that seem to be causing the division. Because as the old saying goes, there but for the grace of God go I.
    Hope that was clear as mud
    ~Your fellow Ragamuffin

  3. If everybody always made the same thing , quilted the same way , wrote the same, cooked……Where would be the art? Life would be so boring!! I love to see creativity. So it may not be the colors I like or quilted right …. But there’s always a beauty in the quilt if you stop and look to see it.

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