Oh this is going to be one of those timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly blogs, all intertwined with the greater point that we, in the quilting world, need each other.
Caralyn at Beauty Beyond Bones wrote Losing my Phone & Finding God. Sharing the experience of entering into the life of a woman in need of someone to enter into her story and be with her, sharing in the experience, sharing faith. There is something of a beautiful kinship, a sense of belonging, the realization that in this moment you’re not alone. This is community. Koinonia. (from merriam webster – :intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community. the koinonia of the disciples with each other and with their Lord.)
Two recent conversations drove the idea of community home, what happens when we work toward being community in spite of our difference, and what happens when we begin to live lives in something of a radical honesty.
We, as humans, are made for community. And in that there is a togetherness, and an “us v them” thing that happens. I’m sure there’s all kinds of hardwired stuff in our brain/dna that makes this happen. There is something in-built that creates a longing to be loved, and accepted for who we are, we seek to find people kind of like us, who hold the same beliefs, or in our case as creative quilters: people who share our love of whatever flavor of quilting we are deeply passionate about. We understand that language. We find comfort in the knowing that they will be there when things go kaflooie, that they have our back and can talk us through whatever troubles. WE will listen, offer support, encouragement, and be there when our community needs us. We got their back.
There is a potential for this kind of community to be so divisive that we miss some great opportunities to expand our quilting world into new areas, new techniques, things that can inform our quilting in ways that we’d never imagined.
If I’d stayed in my own comfort zone, closed off to getting to know people in other quilt related communities, I wouldn’t be machine quilting. I need machine quilting like I need breathing, and like I need quilters in my life.
Last week I met for coffee with a friend I rarely get to see. She has younger school aged children whom I love dearly. We started talking where we left off, as though no time passed. We will have the opportunity for longer times together as her children grow. More though, it’s comforting to know that she is there. Simply, lovingly there.
Then the conversation about removing masks that had me laughing and crying (from laughing) with someone who I see very rarely, however we have deep art/life/quilt conversations. And then say goofy things to each other with great affect. Oh my gosh my sides hurt from part of our conversation. And my heart was moved by the other part. Do you know those conversations where you experience someone knowing you deeply? Getting what you’re saying? Yeah, that. We shared about the parts of life that we live in and how we, in some way, hide our truth from people for whatever reason. We don’t want to seem weak, and therefore be shunned or put out of the community. This friend has shed the “masks” of life and is herself, with her quick wit, astute sense of people, and deep love. This is a woman who cares deeply, and yet has boundaries that she fiercely employs. I love both these things because they embrace the truth of “love your neighbor as you love yourself”.
Another conversation was much more difficult, discussing some broader community related stuff. This is one of those conversations that, if you want my thoughts you’re going to have to ask because I ain’t talkin’ otherwise, and be prepared for some honesty. If I clam up, I ain’t sayin’ anything either, just so ya know. Yeah, this conversation won’t be any more specific here as there are people involved, and I’m not particularly interested in throwing anyone under the bus. No matter my thoughts regarding the stuff we discussed this person I was speaking with has my respect no matter the choice down made. This is community in a deeper way, a way that offers grace in the midst of something not so pleasant. Like removing all the masks, this kind of grace and mercy demands our full presence, commitment, and attention.
In all of this contemplation on community, on being there – there is an undercurrent of “sometimes things go haywire”. They do. This is when the greatest possibility exists for ill, but more importantly for good.
Have I ever shared with you some of the backstory on Twilight in the Bronx?
So the part that I’m going to share right now has to do with fixing things, and how my community helped me see that going in a different direction would help, being brave enough to listen made all the difference.
When I got to the major part of the quilting, I chose to quilt it all in black around the star. The rather intricate quilting didn’t show on the front of the quilt, this leading to some confusion about the front/back. This got me thinking about my choice regarding color, and thread choice. I listened to the quilt group, went home, took the seam ripper out and proceeded to take out so much stitching, from the back because I couldn’t see it on the front. I made some choices regarding thread, adding one more at a friends suggestion and because it made sense for the quilt. I’m grateful for my community. I miss this community as I don’t get to visit with them very often. Their interest in my quilting made a huge difference for me.
Being koinonia is a beautiful thing that takes work. It takes an openness to God’s grace, and mercy. It takes a willingness to listen in a way that allows the person to speak, and be heard. Being koinonia asks us to remove our masks, the things we hid behind to always look beautiful, and see ourselves, so that we can see those we are in community with.There are so many quilterly correlations from piecing, and quilting, to applique and batting choices, styles and types of quilt making.
I think I have a new quilt in mind.