The readings for the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time remind me of quite a few songs from my Anabaptist days. So many tunes singing sweetly in my ear reminding me of God’s love and providence.
We know all things work together for good for those who love God
– Romans 8:28
I’m going to pause here to make a huge point – this doesn’t mean that those who don’t love God aren’t in some way blessed by Him. The sun shines on everyone, the rain falls on everyone, natural disasters happen everywhere. You get the point.
This thought has more to do with a shift in focus rather than making a distinction between “good” and “bad”. The bad that happens is, like the good, an opportunity to build that relationship with God. We get to, to keep it quilting, embrace all the stitches we take as they have a purpose, a meaning, a memory. While “do overs” aren’t quite possible in the forward movement of daily life, we do have the opportunity to continue gleaning information, or seeing how God moved in that particular situation. Do-overs are possible in quilt making, it’s why we have seam rippers, and a creative brain.
Like every two year old I’ve ever met, I want to know now, right now dammit. I want to see what good is going to come of this moment.
Memories, like the melodies of those tunes, flood my mind: learning how to paper piece and cutting the wrong fabric time and time again, running the machine so fast that the thread was left in long loops (eyelashes) on the back of the quilt, giving one quilt a “focal” point that just made no visual sense, machine quilting a very complicated pattern that wasn’t visible from the front of the quilt.
With time, and a lot more quilting I can see how these really frustrating thing led to the place where I am in this very moment as a quilter. In the moments though, the level of frustration was off the charts.
Over the last several years there has been a lot of “have to do this rather than that”.
I’ve had to make choices to put the family first, and my longing for a full-time, money making (enough to live in my home, eat thrice daily,, and purchase quilt related supplies to keep teaching) quilt related career second. Making some of these decisions nearly broke me: not having enough time to write the book – that was an ugly cry; not having the ability to apply to teach with some of the shows and quilt guilds – I’m a teacher, I want to teach; and times where I just could. not. quilt. – I’m a quilter – I’ll let you guess how that feels. As I write there is a sense of being sucker punched, having the wind knocked right out of me and want to talk about ugly crying -hooo baby, got that one down pat.
At this moment I have no earthly idea what good will come from all of this. This scripture, and the last few months have reminded me that trusting God through all of this is essential. While dealing with the doubt, I’ve been reminded of faith. While dealing with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy, I’ve been reminded that there’s been a whole lotta other stuff going on.
Sometimes the stitches have to come out, to create something beautiful.
While the last few years have been challenging, there is grace and mercy. While I’m not where I wanted to be, I am where I need to be, and I’m continually working on trusting God.