The writing of this piece began before hearing Sunday’s (twenty-sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time) readings. I’d love to say I read ahead and reflect on the readings, but alas I don’t, but it’s all good, it’s like a little surprise, just like the homily. While surprised by the readings there’s a gratitude for what I’d been thinking about posting: jealousy. Usually there’s something going on in the quilting world that leads me to the writing, this week, eh, not quite sure. In hearing the readings though it confirmed that writing on jealousy, coveting our neighbors _________________________ made great sense.
I love how both Moses and Jesus clearly and firmly with great love, and Trust in God’s gift giving corrected Joshua and John. God gives gifts to whom He wills and it is theirs to accept or reject. In speaking of vocation with someone the other day I shared that I really, firmly believe that quilting, teaching quilting, is my vocation. It is not for everyone, and each teacher brings to the quilting world something that they are uniquely called to and I’m still discovering what this really looks like. Just like any other vocation it may begin with step one, in this case learning how to quilt and teach, and become something wildly different than what we envision at first.
Giving up jealousy/envy of other quilters apparent success and skills a few years ago, and, as a direct result, changing how I comment on their work was one of the best things ever. It freed me to pursue my own work, in the time it’s going to take, and enjoy the process, the journey. While I gave this up there are still twinges, pangs, and longings that happen it is in these moments that I sit down with myself to have a bit of a conversation, reminding my self that I have no idea how this person struggled to enjoy this quilterly moment. I have no idea of their longings, what they would like to do, how they would like things to happen in their quilt world.
While reflecting on this giving up of jealousy I was struck by the whole notion of swimming in my own lane and minding my own business, doing my own work. Okay that’s good. However, it’s not exactly the truth-filled notion. The truth is more like we’re at a family reunion with everyone showing up, and I do mean every one. The ones we struggle with, the ones that are easy to love, the ones who have messy hair, the ones who forgot to brush their teeth that morning, the ones who wear clothing that we find most distasteful (shocking), the ones who wear our patience with the ease of a hot knife through butter, the ones who seem to have it all together but are really a hot mess, the ones who we connect with on a deeply profound level in a few short moments, the ones who ___________________. In some way or another we connect with each person. In some way we connect. It might be that the person adds to our over all well-being supporting, encouraging us to greater things. It might be that this person shows us great examples of what not to say/do. It might be that the person sees that chip on our shoulders and knocks it off efficiently in ten words or less. It might be this person exemplifies love and grace in a way that speaks deeply to our very core.
In other words I don’t think we have lanes to swim in. Life isn’t quite as neat and tidy as all that. If it were, then finding our life’s work, being content in that work, and growing in that work would be free from the outside influences of others.
We are influenced by those we meet.
In a moment of grace I was given some spiritual insight that showed me something I’d missed out on, gave up, quit because it was hard and I wasn’t ready for the kind of vulnerability that sticking with it would require. In that moment there were some pangs of longing, something jealous. And the reminder that I gave up jealousy for Lent and have chosen to stick with it. Thank you God for that glimpse.
Now and again there are other moments that cause the reminder that I have up jealousy for Lent. In those moments the reminder that I don’t know how they got to this moment sets aside that jealousy, allows me to offer a moment of gratitude for what I see. And realize that our social media is often carefully curated. While I’ve shared some of my struggle, particularly of this last winter, my social media presence would not have necessarily indicated that. It was intentional, not to withhold the truth but because not everyone needs to know every detail of my life. And there may be others involved that I’m intentionally not speaking of.
While this letting go began in my quilting world extending out is very freeing. Just like the immediate “what about me” moment glimpsed that moment of grace. It was, in fact a moment of pride and jealousy. That by giving up jealousy in one area of life I can now see it now in others is a moment of grace. I’m appreciating the gift of God for this person, and the beauty of having them in my life.
I’m also thinking how we could radically change the world of quilt making through the grace of appreciating the work of others, the hard work that they put into getting to what they are doing when we meet them. And let’s not presume that they are making loads of money either. Making good money is really challenging in any creative endeavor. And this perception of making bank adds to the jealousy and inquiries for us to give-away our work. Some give away our work for us by taking it without permission.
In midst of writing someone shared this link with me to live-streamed Adoration. I’m not going to be able to get to Mass this week as I have some family things I’m doing so this and the daily readings will be my make-do.
May your week be as beautifully creative as you are.