Patchwork and Promise
April 21, 2014
She who reconciles the ill-matched threads
of her life, and weaves them gratefully
into a single cloth—
it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall
and clears it for a different celebration
where the one guest is you.
In the softness of the evening
it’s you she receives.
You are the partner of her loneliness,
the unspeaking center of her monologues.
With each disclosure you encompass more
and she stretches beyond what limits her,
to hold you.
(Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Hours I, 17)
I love color, and I love quilts. A few summers ago, after watching my best friend Amy sew one out of old t-shirts, I decided to create my own. There was just one problem. I don’t know how to sew.
As I watched Amy finish her quilt, the poet Rilke’s words began to haunt me: Who said my quilt had to be sewn with a needle and thread? Who said everyone had to like it for it to be deemed worthy & beautiful? What if my quilt—my threads, if you will—helped me discover and give thanks for the work of God’s Spirit in my life?
It wasn’t long before I decided a trip to the fabric store was in order. While there, I purchased handfuls of fabric in an array of colors and shapes. Over the course of that summer, I attributed each piece of fabric to a moment in my life and glued it alongside the others on large pieces of card stock. Some moments were joyful, others heartbreaking, and still a few were ongoing. In isolation, each piece seemed arbitrary. Together, they were the most magnificent display of color and grace.
Years later, I am still “sewing” my quilt. Each time I add a piece, I write a brief note or prayer. It reminds me that beauty often bears the weight of sorrow just as much as it brings forth delight and hope.
Much like Easter. The joy and promise of Easter cannot be celebrated without the depth of Friday’s desolation. Nor does the story begin and end in one day. Resurrection is a journey—a dance with God and God’s people. Even if the candy’s gone. Even if the decorations are put away. Even if your threads have unraveled.
Even on a Monday.
Begin making your quilt today. You can use fabric, crayons, colored pencils, markers, photographs, words – whatever makes you happy and draws you to this creative act of the soul. Don’t let the weight of judgment or shame edit out the beauty of your story.
– Maria Kane