I have struggled to create and finish this funny little quilt. It started out as a roll of fabric squares that I bought at IKEA. When I saw this little roll I picked it up and put it down a number if times but something nudged me that I needed to buy it. So I did. I thought I could make some cute birthday or letter banners or something along those lines. Now, sewing is one thing-especially in a crafty sort of application- but quilting?? That’s a whole ‘nother language all together and I don’t speak quilt. It is precise and measured whereas I fall more into the winging it camp. When my daughter suggested I make a play mat I thought hmm, that can’t be too hard. So what did I do? Dove in, head first no directions and only a vague idea of what I thought it could be.
Over the course if the project it evolved and so did some of my thinking.
I had to let go of this notion that it needed to be perfect when really all it needed to be was done. I just wanted to have it available for all my sweet grand babies to play on not become a symbol of just how amazing their Mim was to create this amazing play mat/quilt that was now too precious to play on AND now that they were all teenagers they didn’t need it anyhow. I had to let go and be guided by what was necessary. Does that mean that it will be any less useful or fun? No. It will fulfill its purpose perfectly because it is free from the bondage of bring a perfect quilt-it will be used (I hope) to shreds and not put up out of reach or put on display. It will fulfill its purpose.
In case you didn’t see it coming, there is a lesson in all of this-and all because I bought a 4. 99 bundle of scraps. I need to let go of this perfect image of whatever it is I think I need for my life and let God do the work. I will never have the house of my dreams like so many Instagram and Pinterest posts show me is possible. The reality is that I cannot go out and buy all the decor it would take to satisfy that image! Instead, I need to find joy in the making of tiny bursts of lovely in corners here and there. Figuring out what to do with the three dollar bargain I picked up in the clearance section of TJ Maxx (so much fun to be had there!) is a kick. Some people call it styling or vignetting- I just call it figurin’ out how to make it work. The other reality is that I am not all these other voices out there. I don’t need to be a different voice-I need to be what I was created to be-which may be a bit quirky, a whole lot of introvert and admit I am 51 and wear my hair in braids-and that’s that.
Back to this little quilt-it too is quirky and made up of many parts that someone else might not thought of to put together but it is it’s own kind of wonderful-just like each of us. One thing its not is beautiful and I am O.K. with that. Beauty is an overused concept in our culture and I believe it has been distorted-even in the church. We want everything to be ‘beautiful’-a sweet word delivered with a smile. We cannot imply that something is less than amazing or that ugliness does in fact exist- because that might mean that we are less than, that we might possess ugliness. I truly believe that beauty is a concept reserved for God to reveal, something we need to learn. What we say is beautiful is often only pretty, or disguised as pretty, or lovely (love-able in human terms) which are merely worldly applications of a supernatural concept which will fail the true test when the time comes. Beauty possesses a depth beyond comprehension which in a lifetime we can only hope to come along side and can only hope to have revealed-in it’s fullest glory-on the other side of heaven, not this side.
The other great thing about this little quilt is what it taught me about grace. When I gave up the lofty idea of it being something it really wasn’t meant to be I was able to allow it’s imperfections emerge as something good. This is no excuse for shoddy craftsmanship-this quilt may well outlast me-but in granting a certain grace I could look at it and not be ashamed that it isn’t perfect according to what someone who makes quilts might expect. It is my quilt. Made how I am able to make it. And that’s OK.
Grace applied, shame denied.