God has a sense of humor. I’m sitting in my living room, watching the Yankee game, minding my own business when, “every good and perfect gift” floats through my mind. I know this verse from somewhere, memorized it a long time a go, but for the life of me can’t remember chapter & verse. So, in an effort to listen, and knowing I have this blog post started I go look it up. Here’s what I find from James 1:
Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing+ of your faith produces perseverance.
And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom,* he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.
. . . .
all good giving and every perfect gift* is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
James 1: 2-5, 17, 18
I got a good and perfect gift that I’m learning how to unwrap and enjoy. It’s not an easy gift to unwrap as it means that I must change my posture from one of traveling on my own, doing, and leading to one of traveling with, doing as I’m asked, and listening. The territory is familiar, though it’s been a long time since I was here. Remembering how to negotiate this place is challenging, fraught with frustration and freeing.
Yes, it’s freeing. It’s freeing. I’m going to go all quilty and embrace the one thing many of us as quilters rail and gnash our teeth against. There is a box. There is a box, I’m in it, and I get to function within the confines of that box. There are rules, ways of doing things, and limits on what I can do. I can, occasionally, go outside that box, however the main function is in that box.
For quilters often The Rules feel confining, restraining, irritating and challenging. While I support doing whatever you want as a quilt maker I do have rules when I’m teaching:
1) engage the safety cover when the rotary cutter is put down
2) ask questions, it’s the only way to make sure you understand (this is a problem on my part admittedly) and more than likely someone else has that same question
3) ask me to show you, sometimes it’s the only way to really “get” the quilting or piecing
4) if you like certain colors, use them.
5) do your best
6) don’t compare your work to others
Personally, I have quilt rules that I follow and offer to my students:
1) use the right needle for the thread
2) adjust tension as necessary
3) listen to your gut
4) try new threads and fabrics
5) offer advice when asked, but then don’t get ticked when someone doesn’t follow it
6) ask questions
I admit to having a hard time following patterns so I don’t frequently use them. Much earlier in my quilting life I did use them and enjoyed them. As I gained confidence and knowledge I moved on to doing my own thing. I can tell you though, using and following a pattern is freeing because the process is right there for me. It’s not that I don’t have to think about the process, because I do, it’s that most of the hard work has been done already and following the process, then, makes the end product better. Both using a pattern and going freestyle have their place in life and in the quilting world.
So, yes, I am rather amused by the “good and perfect gift” I’ve been given right now. I do find God’s sense of humor in all of this.
As an aside, this blog post had another title, which got scrapped with that verse came to mind. Let’s just say it still has me giggling