Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quilting Together Our Lives

I honestly can't tell you when I learned to quilt.  The first real quilt I remember making was in college, but it couldn't have been the first, as I knew what I was doing by then.  Maybe my mother taught me, maybe my grandmother.  It might have even been a friend's mother. It is odd, but I honestly don't know.

I think life can be a lot like quilting.  We each strive to create something of beauty.  We want our lives to have a design, and we want the finished product to show the care and love that went into it.  While many aspects of our lives can be derived from the opprotunities and supplies on hand, much like the fabrics used in a quilt, it is how we choose to use those supplies that determines the outcome of the project.

Bright, bold, striped, spotted, muted, pastel, faded, patterned and solid fabrics are all combined into the mosaic that forms the finished design.  Just like in life, we pick these fabrics of experience from different places.  The joys of childhood may be bright and bold, while the pain of lost love may be muted and faded.  These fabrics will come in different sizes and shapes, and we will never have the same amount of any of them.  As we continue to add each fabric and experience to our overall design, it really doesn't matter how they go together, only that we make the most of each piece. 

The difference between a quilt and a plain blanket is the interwoven fabrics that create the design.  Each of us has a cornucopia of experiences and fabrics.  When we fail to connect them we miss out on the beauty inside each of us.  Like quilting, it takes experience and practice to artfully piece our lives together.  We will not always have neat corners.  We will not always sew a straight line.  But the art is in the creation.

While I sometimes wish my entire quilt was filled with fanciful florals and whimsical prints, it is the dark solid colors that ground it and give it substance.  The times in our lives that are heavy and dark create the perfect visual companions for the light and airy joys we also experience.  One, without the other, would leave the quilt, and our lives, feeling flat.

As I age, my quilting skills improve.  I learn a little more each day about selecting the right experiences to add to my design.  I appreciate the light and the dark, and I even chose a few daring fabrics here and there.

It is my hope that each of us step back to examine the beauty of our individual quilts.  I hope we appreciate each fabric and experience we see there.  It is amazing to know that with the billions of people who have walked this planet, we each carry with us a unique piece of art.

Once again I mention that I don't remember who taught me to quilt.  Then again, maybe no one did.  Maybe it is just human nature to piece together the fabrics of our lives.

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