More. There is always more than we see on the surface.
One of the things about social media is we can narrate and curate our stories in a way that places whatever positive, negative, or neutral story, narrative we choose.
One can with vivid imagination firmly intact, almost hear the narration, music, and see the beautiful scene playing exemplifying triumph in spite of desperate odds, great strength through a difficult challenge, and speaking just the right words that turn the tide – and everyone one lives happily ever after!
Frequently we’re putting that positive spin on things, which in an of itself isn’t a problem as we want to put out best self out there, the self we long to be, the one God creates us to be. Sometimes behind that which we put out there is some pretty hard stuff that we don’t share. It is the stuff that gives us depth and makes us human; it is sometimes the stuff that brings us shame whether earned, chosen, or given by those on the outside. It is also that which frequently brings out people who, quite akin to the Pharisees and Saducees, wish to bring us in line and make sure we know where we’ve made whatever error, flaw or misstep we took is not only unacceptable but now we’re unworthy of their time and attention.
I’m sharing @play here, which I’m certain I’ve shared a lot of the background of this quilt. I’m sharing More here. The photographer knows quilts and knows how to make them look good. Which this photograph is a “make this look good” and quite frankly it’s an “I see the potential here, I see the good here.” kind of photo. The making of this quilt is fraught with struggle, a thread struggle, a border struggle, a laying flat struggle and a bit of an embarrassed struggle because the quilt wasn’t laying flat and it would be hanging in shows. It hung all wonky in a couple of shows. It’s also NOT show worthy as I got caught up in the race to the finishline and quite set aside my whole rule of checking the tension. This is a rare quilt wherein I do not care because it’s beauty rests in the work done and the work I get to show students.
Behind the scenes I was working in a quilt shop and struggling a lot, my Sweetie had surgery and wasn’t home for several weeks, I wasn’t sleeping well (I rarely do when he’s not home) and the quilting was taking much longer than expected. Then because of the density of the stitching the quilt shrunk up a good inch and I had to add stitching all the way around, so the design changed a bit. That orange at the bottom of the quilt was supposed to be the edge as though gently cascading off into _______________________. There was NO way to extend the orange in a way that would make visual sense. It would have been a bigger mess than was already happening.
Over the last months I’ve shared how hearing and reading the stories of the women in the Bible are changing how I perceive our feminine faith history. This shift started back when I read Mulieris Dignatatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) by JPII, continuing gently over time as my relationship with the Lord has waxed and waned. Over the years I’ve developed a different appreciation for St. Paul, coming to understand that while it seemed like St. Paul was, as Jesus seemed to at times, chiding or scolding women for x, y, or z he was, as Jesus did inviting women to take their seat at the table, to give witness to how Our Lord changed their life, to hear and live out the radical Truth of the Gospel – God Loves us and want to be in relationship with us. What if I look at my life through the lens of my own God given dignity and give witness through that? Let me step back for a moment, what if I look at my life through the lens of God’s great love for me and live as though I am loved.
What if I see this skill set as a quilter to encourage others to pursue their own quilting journey as part and parcel of their relationship with God, and getting to walk with each quilter in this moment as part of God loving me deeply. I am not always the best teacher, I own that. I’m not always the best quilter, I own that. There are moments where quilting FEELS out of reach, but so much like our relationship with God it is a step by step, stitch by stitch letting go, diving in deeply and trusting that in the end there is something beautiful to behold. What if what I DO is to inspire you to do what God is calling you to do. What if being in one of my classes is to allow you to see that pursuing a different path in quilitng is perfectly fine, or that you love knitting more, or that painting quilts is okay or cutting up old quilts and making garments is a good thing or what if you are there to show me how to be a better teacher, to help me grow in patience and holiness, to figure out a new way of showing how to fix or repair, or figure out kinder words to speak when all things seem to be going all haywire.
As I write I now see the deep beauty in asking God for patience, for the longing to say, “Yes, I do love you Lord.” More. I long for more as a quilter, as a writer, as a wife, as a woman of Faith.