I got a yes to a project. Pray with me friends, it’s a long term project and one my heart greatly desires to complete.
This week, in more than one place, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well came up in all it’s glorious beauty. this story, this action of Jesus, speaks to mercy, and compassion so very deeply both in the offering and the receiving. Giving and receiving compassion. Giving. Receiving. Mercy and compassion are actions rather than nouns. We want compassion when we screw things up, and it’s so hard to extend it when someone else does. She, then, extended grace and mercy to those in her village. The beauty of the reception of grace.
And there is another Gospel story that comes to mind – the one of the steward of the house who owed a lot of cash to his employer, worked the whole thing out with his debt forgiven and then goes on to screw someone who owed him money over. Grace extended, essentially refused, rejected.
Word on Fire editor Elizabeth Scalia wrote, Anti-Christ Arrives in World Without Mercy.
Then Megan Dougherty wrote Absentia.
These articles appeared in my twitter and facebook feed respectively within minutes of each other. Together Elizabeth’s article and Megan’s work* of fiction are a dynamic look at how people, in our case specifically quilters, interact on-line and sometimes in person. We can, I can, do better. Even in the “complaining about” others as Megan “imagines”.
*I say work, however this conversation might have happened somewhere in the quiltiverse.
Megan also points to one of the reasons we need quilters working in the big box stores and independent quilt retailers that are easy to find. More often than not indies are the generosity filled places that welcome the ones who have no idea what they need. We can direct new quilters to the sale fabric, we can make sure they have enough *gotta have fudge room*. We can direct them to simple patterns that will achieve their needs in this moment.
As a former quilt shop employee I know I had days where I was on, welcoming, and so very present with people. And I had days where I was so incredibly stressed I could barely make it to lunch for a respite. I can assure you that those days when I was less than my best replay in my mind, accusing me of the truth: being less than my best to quilters (people) in need left me shamed, wanting, knowing I could do better, I could be better. I can see in my minds eye people who needed more from me, needed kindness and compassion.
I keep thinking of a “soft answer turning away wrath”. Yes, it does. I keep thinking of really listening to what’s happening with that person. Compassion is sitting with a person in their grief and pain. It takes work, it’s so worth it though. It takes work to be mindful of what and how we say things to people, and about them. It takes work to be patient while waiting in a line. To let go of our own stress for a moment and be with someone in need.
I’m committing to thinking, praying before responding in anger or frustration. This ain’t going to be easy folks, pray with and for me.
And join me. Join me in taking the action of praying and thinking before speaking hastily, in anger, in frustration. Let’s be the witness to the best of quilt making – that generosity of spirit.