For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.
St. Therese of Lisieux, Manuscrits autobiographiques, C 25r CCC 2558
….The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water; there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink, Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. CCC 2560
A number of years ago I wanted to learn how to paper piece so I might make New York Beauty blocks. I borrowed a friends book, did a bit of reading, grabbed some fabric and other supplies and set about learning. As has oft happened for me classes were just out of reach – and the quilt shop closest to me cancelled the class more than once. So I thought just suck it up and do it.
Arcs were drafted, fat quarters at the ready and go. Uh, sure. First arc trashed because when flipping the piece back to cut the seam allowance I flipped back the wrong piece, cutting the wrong thing off. Grrr. Arc two trashed as I repeated the process exactly. Arc three trashed because I didn’t fully cover the spike with fabric. Arc five I lost to using too hot an iron permanently adhering the fabric to the freezer paper. Rinse. Repeat. About an hour later I walked out of the sewing room, closed the door placing myself, and the learning process in time out. Trust me it was a good idea for the myself, and the fabric. Because rotary cutters are sharp.
A few days later I dug into this again. The author of the book suggests one way to paper piece, which wasn’t quite working for me. Thinking it through I made some changes starting with giving clues to the fabric placement, measuring the length and width of the arc pieces, using that to make rectangles for each piece, and lowering the temperature of the iron. This time the arcs were pieced with great success. The quilt came together, taking a cue from but not copying the author. This desire to be unique started very early.
Over the last couple of weeks this idea for Forty Days of Prayer for Quilters and what this should look like has rattled around my head like so many super balls, bouncing from here to there wanting me to catch them all at the same time. I’d been thinking that this should start with reflections on Genesis 1 and 2 focusing in on creativity, and order. We’ll get there however God’s been reminding me of a few things lately:
creativity is a relationship
creativity needs rest
creativity is a process not a destination
creativity is a conversation
Prayer, contemplation, thinking are all parts of the conversation with God. When these are nurtured creativity flows. When these are ignored creativity is frustrated and barren. Barren or fallow. Barren means lifeless; fallow means resting. We read in scripture that every seven years farmers would allow their lands to go fallow, meaning giving a year to rest, and restore. This last period of time has felt barren, and I’m beginning to understand that it’s been fallow, resting, renewing so that something can shift, and the creative relationship can be renewed, and restored.
This begins with conversation, and with prayer. I continue to ask for your prayer for a special intention. Please know that I’m praying for you.
God of creation, guide our hearts closer to you, guide our hands in the work you give us. Guard our hearts and minds as we enter into the creative process with you. Allow us to make mistakes with grace, learn without fear and shame, and grow through pruning.