Last night on our way to Church for the Mass of the Lord’s supper I needed to stop by the front door as I realized as I climbed into the car that I’d left my phone, where my e-reader is, on the table. On the door handle is a package of Pirates Booty popcorn hanging from the door handle. No big deal, right? Upon getting to the traffic light my Sweetie points out the person who most likely put the foil bags on the front door of all the houses on our block. Well as you might know I have a rather vivid imagination and well I play with words, and my Instagram account has been hacked so you can imagine where my head went. Oh good grief! For peace of mind I texted a neighbor just to make sure nothing was amiss. You may giggle now.
Over the last few days I’ve been free-motion quilting on my home sewing machine.. Oh how utterly joyous. The first piece is a lone star, stitched entirely in a 40 weight, trilobal polyester in oranges and pinks, including this orangey pink or pinky orange that is one of my favorite threads. It’s a lot pink, with this shimmery hint of orange. With as slowly as I quilt this piece took several hours.
When I finished this I had in mind this piece of linen and an idea for a purse for myself, kind of inspired by making one for a friend a few weeks ago. So I drew a few quilt blocks on it and started quilting. And got this far
when the machine started acting a bit funny, starting when the bobbin thread ran out necessitating the need to wind a couple of bobbins and change the needle at the same time. Changing the needle is part and parcel of the machine quilting process and something I usually do when I change thread. Since this was all the same weight/type that wasn’t necessary. Well then this happened
Cleaning and oiling the machine is always a good thing particularly when using cotton, cotton naturally gives lint. The SewSteady table is on the floor, stitch plate next to the machine, lint grabbing brushes at the ready, and machine oil ready to go. You might take notice of the pain reliever there too, no this wasn’t particularly painful, it’s just on the table. This cleaning took a few minutes as some lint was in something of an awkward place. And then all of this led to
taking all thread out of my thread drawers and sorting it all by thread type. Eventually I’ll further sort it by color too
Cleaning, tidying up, sorting through is always a chore to me however at the end of it I’m pretty happy with the results. There is more that needs doing because I’ve been quilting lately. And by a lot of quilting I mean like over 10,000 stitches in one little area. No wonder I needed to get the lint out and oil my machine.
Tidying the machine just like tidying up the soul are both incredibly good, beautiful and necessary. Tidying up the machine by getting the lint out is much easier than tidying up my soul. I’m much more of a hot mess than my machine, although this one has had it’s moments, needing a motherboard replacement a two years ago. Tidying up both are necessary. This morning I listened to Fr. Mike Schmitz Good Friday homily (I’m hoping the one on the video is the same) on the Hallow app, and as with so much in this last couple of years there is some different insight in a way that is like, “oh that’s really cool.” One of the things he brought up from the Gospel of the day where the soldiers, after flogging Jesus then crowned Him with thorns and wrapped him in the purple cloak, pointing out that there was no directive to do this, nor was there any need. The soldiers took this part upon themselves. As Fr. Mike preaches he points out the distinction between jealousy and envy. Jealousy is wanting what someone else has; envy is not only desiring what a person has but goes darker in that envy doesn’t want the other person to have what they have. This explains so very much in life, in our current culture, in my own very being. This explains both the learned negative internal conversations and spiritual attacks of the e*il one.
One of the things I’ve shared with people, and I mean it, when it’s said to me, “I want to be just like you when I grow up” is, “No, you don’t want to be like me, I’m a hot mess, you want to be the best version of who You are as a quilter.” And this is true. This doesn’t in any way diminish the hard work I’ve put in to learning how to quilt, how this hard work has led to some really fascinating quilts, ways of using thread and the really interesting conversations I have with a few quilters wherein the ideas simply flow for both work. Quilting, and some things related to quilting, are my skills and exercising these gifts are essential to my own life and growth as a human being. Sharing what I’ve learned is also essential to my growth as a human being, it’s essential to my growth in Faith. This isn’t the same for everyone and I know that deeply. We all quilt for different reasons and this in and of itself as good. Desiring the skill of another can be a problem when it interferes with our own growth as a quilter and as a person, when it makes us look at our own faults as something that will never be overcome and we’ll never be as good as. This kind of comparative thinking really puts the kibosh on so much in our own lives and our quiltmaking and leads to further distorted thinking also called envy wherein we don’t want the person, the quilter to have what they have and what they’ve worked for.
I once wrote how I gave up either jealousy or envy one year and this morning listening to Fr. Mike’s homily I realized that it was indeed jealousy, I wanted what she had – her mad free-motion quilting skills, or at least I thought I did. In thinking about what I said to her I realized that this wasn’t true as I already had my own mad skills and style, what I really wanted and needed was to do my own quilting and do something rather different.
Related, because I’ve seen this more than once in the quilting world and have in some way participated in commenting unnecessarily. When we go after a quilter with thoughts and words of, “she needs to be taken down a peg or two because her britches have gotten a bit bigger than *I* think they need to be” this is envy, and this is wrong, it is ugly, mean, bullying, cruel and while we in someways, while I in someways understand the impact of these words, we never fully understand how the cruelty hurts people deeply. We are flogging them with our words.
Flogging with the whip of our barbed tongue. OUCH.
Being Good Friday (Thank God!) there is another image that comes to mind. Crucify Him! Crucify HIm! Yep. I would have been praising him as he rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, and shouting Crucify HIm with the rest of the crowd. And I do that very thing when I give in and over to jealousy and envy.
Good God, it’s Friday. It is Good Friday. We will soon leave this Triduum, this one celebration of the passion of the Lord and enter the Easter season, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus and the completion of Jesus’ salvific work. Amen and Amen.
May this Good Friday bring you ever closer to the one who loves you so very, very much.