An interesting observation the sunsets here in Texas are big, and bold, and beautiful. The extended stay hotel we’re currently staying in is situated in such a way that the sun sets in about the same sky location as it did in our Bronx home. The biggest difference is that the window here is smaller, and the view is obscured by a beautiful mature tree rather than buildings and utility lines.
I recently shared with a friend that I’ve felt lost. I think more accurately is I really don’t know what’s coming next. You see, when I submitted, then wrote my book, Color, Thread & Free-Motion Quilting Learn to Stitch with Reckless Abandon, and went through all of that I firmly believed that what would come next is:
Taping for an online quilt show – this will happen, however no live audience, and quilters going home with a copy of the book
More teaching a big shows – this is now debatable because here we are in this moment
Trade Show presentation this happened in a virtual format
And teaching gigs at guilds. There is an immediate change with this going virtual rather than in person. I teach free motion machine quilting some of the changes I’d like to make have to wait.
I’m rolling with it. Changing plans. Watching what’s happening and seeing how best to respond to the changing needs. Let’s throw in a big move from NY to TX and you have the makings of feeling, experiencing, being lost. The thing is, I’m not lost. I’m waiting to see what options become available. I’m also waiting. I’m doing some quilting however not what I want and need due to the limits placed by time and space in this hotel room. I can quilt when my Sweetie is at work. Yes, yes I know. I’m whining about not functioning in my own daily rhythm. Noted and making immediate changes.
On and of through my entire life there are moments where I can recall being nearly paralyzed by fear and doubt. Did you know that Shine Your Light was made in a moment of big stress?
Please hang with me because as this is hard to share.
Life gets difficult sometimes in ways that cause us to go through the motions of living: eating, sleeping, pooping, coffee, work (if there’s work), quilting (if possible). I have a hard time quilting when I’m super stressed, I can’t quite give over to the place where I’m totally free to stitch with reckless abandon. I have a hard time praying in these times, it comes out as, “why”, “help”, “???” or “!!!!!!!!”. At the time of the making I’d had to make a phone call to my publisher and admit that I couldn’t write that particular book. The shame, sadness and deep heartache that filled my being were compounded by the tired of being out of my house for 13 hours a day. I couldn’t think coherent thoughts let alone write complete sentences. As the timing was connected to a full-time job, and my days off were not in a row I was always tired. I’d walk to the door of my sewing room, look at it with great longing, sigh, fight off the tears, and go take a nap. Right around this time we all learned that the quilt shop I worked in would be closing in about three months time. I held my calm with customers for about five weeks. I understood people were grieving their local quilt shop. It was wearing to hear over and over, “why didn’t you buy the shop?” There were other questions and some mean comments. I’ll leave it at that though. If you know me in real life I’m really patient with people. And there were some things happening personally, other than having to give up on that book, that added to the stress level.
Around this time Pokey Bolton mentioned curating a traveling exhibit in memory of Yvonne Porcella, founder of Studio Art Quilt Associates. My weary, parched, aching being responded to something in this call compelling me to my sewing studio. I’d purchased a piece of snow dyed cotton/silk blend from a friend. One place on the piece reminded me of a flame. The quilting community spent time with candles for Yvonne as their profile pictures. This then sparked the idea, this quilt would perpetually light a candle for Yvonne. And so I did what I do, I quilted changing thread color and weight with the reckless abandon of one finding something deep and meaningful, and acting on that. In the middle of all the tears and shame of letting go I quilted. Yes there it is. I am actually still, to a degree embarrassed that I had to give up that book. Finishing that quilt, and having it accepted into the traveling exhibit is such an honor. I knew very clearly that this quilt did not belong to me and in the right moment the quilt was given to the right person, who has assured me I may borrow it for a time when necessary.
This quilt reminds me that there is always hope in the midst of great difficulty and grief. We are meant to live in hope, and without fear. I’ll qualify that we are also meant to live with prudence, the sense God gave us to love our neighbors. While there is a bit of heaviness right now in all of our lives there are still quilts, prayer, and deep thinking going on. I have a quilt that I can see in my head that I long to get stitching. This hotel room is not the space to make this as I need table space because the quilt is big, and bold and full of thread. Full of thread.
I am learning to LIVE in hope, through Faith and in God’s love and mercy.