About a month or so ago a Priest I know gave me this prayer of St. Augustine:
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit
That my thoughts may all be holy
Act in me O Holy Spirit
That my work, too, may be holy
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit
That I love but what is holy
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit
To defend all that is holy
Guard me, then O Holy Spirit
That I always may be holy
My earliest going to Church memory is in the early 70’s, our sitting in the choir loft. Whoever was preaching had a projector with a filmstrip of the newest Coke commercial featuring the “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect Harmony” song. In one sense wouldn’t that be great? Singing in perfect harmony? I have no good solutions for bringing this to any kind of fruition. If this last year or so has shown me anything at all it is that there are moments when my, our, my free-will comes into play.
It is not lost on me that singing in harmony is a recognition of the complete range of the human voice. It is an appreciation of the differences and how they complement one another. As someone who loves to sing, with gusto, off-key I really appreciate those who can sing from the depths of their being. What I hear here, what I see in quilt making is the same thing I see in Scripture, in music is a sense of relationship. Color is relational. Music is relational. Quilting is relational. Harmony comes in appreciation of the unique differences, and the unique beauty we all bring in our creative endeavors and in our Faith life.
There are two bits of Scripture that have come into sharp focus this week that are mind blowing. The first was the rich young ruler who walked away from Jesus when our Lord, knowing this man’s heart and what he was attached to, told him what he needed to do in order to have eternal life. This has me thinking about the parts of my life I need to turn over to the Lord, to give up, and what can fill this space of giving up. How do I make this home where I live a place of prayer? That part seriously begins with me and what that looks like right now I have no idea however it will happen and may begin seriously with clearing off the dining room table.
The second bit came while reading the current book study book for Church. The opening of the fourth chapter, The Presentation of the Child Jesus, “About forty days had elapsed since the birth of our Savior at Bethlehem, and the time had now come when Jesus was to be presented to the Lord in the Temple, and the sacrifice was to be offered for the purification of the Mother..” Over the last year or so I’ve been struck with both how familiarity leads to hearing and not necessarily listening to what’s being said both in Scripture, and in life in general. I’m noticing more and more how the Holy Spirit is allowing me to see things in a new way, a (hopefully) deeper way. This first paragraph of the fourth chapter of the book we’re reading knocked me off my feet.. Here I am reading this in Church getting ready for Book Study night, and getting ready to write to the women participating and now that paragraph is the end of the reading for the moment because I’m realizing for the first time ever that in His Body Jesus is marked with the sign of Faith in the Temple, indelibly marked, part of the family. He’s less than two months old. There is absolutely no doubt in the minds of Mary and Joseph about bringing Jesus into the family of Faith, of bringing him to Temple to begin living a life and the customs of what it means to be Jewish. There are festivals and feasts to celebrate, the beginning of the year marked with different celebrations beginning with the celebration of their freedom from tyranny and slavery in Egypt.
A long time ago, in a very different place I wondered aloud to a teacher I’d developed a conversational relationship with whether or not my Sweetie and I would have our kids Baptised as infants or have them wait. My inclination was to wait to let them choose. She said no, raise them Catholic, in your faith. And now, well beyond any possibility of raising little people to adulthood I see something ever so clearly Jesus, God Incarnate, was raised in the Faith of his forefathers from infancy. There was no waiting. Now I see the wisdom of this raising in the Faith, of not waiting until some age of reason to do so. Baptism and Confirmation mark us indelibly with those signs of Faith. It is then the responsibility of the parents and the community to raise the child and help form them well in their faith. Give them the best start possible, claim them for God. Do your best to raise them, trust the Grace of the Sacrament to carry them when it seems as though they are straying away from the faith and be ready to welcome them home, greeting them with great passion…oh what a good God we have. And though we all, in our humanity, do some really crappy and sometimes downright evil things, we have a Faith that gives us that solid foundation for living.
I’ll blog about this more later today or tomorrow on TerifiCreations I wanted to share with you here that just as in our faith life our quilting life has breakthroughs. Back in January I started learning how to longarm quilt. Over the last several weeks there’ve been some breakthroughs that, to me, have been significant. I’m getting the rhythm that works best for my creative brain. Just like any new-to-me (you) skill it takes time. There are frustrating moments wherein the sewing room needs to go into time out, to rest and think about adopting appropriate behavior in a timely manner. As for me changing to the Micro foot helped a lot giving me the sightlines needed to see where I’m going, and switching over to Manual Mode at a speed of somewhere around 550 stitches per minute. And the hours I’ve spent quilting over the last few months has made a tremendous difference.
When I’m struggling with creativity, or what to do next I often go back to the basics, doing something simple to prime the creative pump, reminding quilt brain of the possibilities. Learning to longarm has reminded me of the great beauty of being a beginner, the possibilities are vast. There are skills to learn, become familiar with, adept at and hone over time. Sometimes learning these new skills comes together fairly quickly offering us the opportunity to learn our own style, sometimes it’s slowly, with much headbanging, eye rolling, and frustration. It is those things that give us the greatest opportunity to think things through coming up with a greater variety of options for solving the quilting problem we’re working through.
Over this last year the same thing has happened. I’m reminded that honing faith life takes practice and work and a time commitment. What I’m reminded of, living and appreciating is that natural affinities are lenses that help us focus clearly on our creative relationship with quilt making, our relationship with the wider community and Faith-wise the same thing happens as we read Scripture, engage context and tradition and relate to one another God gives us the opportunities to grow closer to him.
Oh how I wander through different things. Lord lead me to you with these crooked lines.