The Crucifx hanging over the alter captured my attention, keeping it through most of the personal prayer time and part of the Mass. Jesus seems to be standing, legs and arms strong and well defined, he’s looking toward heaven, I imagine him saying, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” The Crucifix often depicts Jesus in the moment of death, spirit gone, head hanging low, shoulders slumping, lifeless. This one though, there is something strong in the feel of his person, the gaze towards heaven. In the middle of the struggle, leading toward death, here is this Jesus, trusting imploring His Father for Mercy and Forgiveness for those, for me, committing this murderous, treacherous act.
Just the day before my Sweetie and I went to the sister Church of this parish for Sunday Mass. I think that Be Not Afraid by Robert Dufford, SJ was the Communion Meditation.
In the middle of this song the tears flowed freely, an overwhelming sense of being loved for who I am.
In the middle of the “I want” and “this bites” and “help me Father” and “I need You” here are these oases to drink at the well of God’s love. The beauty of that Cross. That moment of Love. Oh my God I am grateful. Part of me wants to move to that parish for more of those experiences. But I’m missing the point, these moments of Grace carry me through. Even if we did move there – there would still be struggle, only of a different sort. These moments of Grace will sustain, if I let them. That’s right, I must consent to being loved, sustained, and filled.
Sometimes it takes another art form to speak deeply to the place in our souls that longs to create something beautiful. In this moment two forms: sculpture and poetry, form and function, physical and non-physical. These forms engage the physical senses of sight and hearing allowing the imagination to dream of how these might take shape in the form of quilts and words. Quilts the form, words the function. Each quilt has a story to tell, whether I am ready to listen, or not. On the bed of the sewing machine is a quilt-to-be with an idea flowing from what I see in the fabric. Now to stitch out what I see in the imagination.
I’ve had a vivid imagination from the very beginning of me, one that allows me to create beautiful things, and sometimes gets me in deep trouble because I think, and think, and think, and think, and think. This thinking leads down some paths that remind me of the need to pause before assuming the worst. This vivid imagination has benefits – I can see things like candle flames, and moons, and now, a monstrance (an open/transparent receptacle for the faithful to venerate the Blessed Sacrament/Host). In seeing this, there is a “plan” to make it happen, however only part is there so I need to, get to figure this out.
I get to figure it out. I get to spend time listening, imagining, thinking through, using my imagination for something good, expanding horizons, making stitches, taking them out. I get to imagine. I think, no, I know that as human beings, as quilt makers, sometimes we can see so many options for doing something, for making, solving problems that we have a difficult time picking. In an effort to make this “the best quilt ever” we give into a sense of imaginative overwhelm, prideful perfectionism that stops us from creating. In going in that direction we forget the one who created us always has more ideas, like he has more water to drink, friends to spend time with, leaves to unfurl, sunsets to color, and quilters to inspire to simply make.
That making leads us, if we’re willing, back to the Creator, who gives us the ideas, imagination, and inspiration. Imagination and making are give and take. When imagination and making work together there is something beautiful that happens. Sometimes this something beautiful is a down right ugly attempt to see the beautiful. Often we get stuck here, beginning to imagine and believe, that we are absolute crap when pushing through to the next quilt, photo, fabric choice will lead to something of a breakthrough. That breakthrough though, oh it’s glorious, thanks be to God.
We have these same experiences in faith, sometimes things are incredibly beautiful, sometimes it’s downright crap. It’s time to dig in with fabric, and words, form and substance and make some good, awful, or good, who knows.