Most people who know me know that I like to quilt. I have fabric in piles all over my house and my kids think the ironing board is a sofa table. You know, the long skinny kind that sit right behind the sofa holding lamps and other interesting stuff. Well, my “sofa table” sits right behind my chair and is slightly angled out of the door opening. It is full of interesting things as well, namely patches of various colors and sizes. Eventually the patches will make their way into a quilt for someone.
Quilting can be tedious but it can also be exciting when a new design is evolving. There are times that I simply do not like a particular color but when blended as part of a whole quilt I never notice the odd color. Unfortunately, I have to rip out seams to make sure that I get a nice point or that the corners match. I do like the design process so that I can see new designs emerging from behind other designs. I ceaselessly badger my children with photos of emerging quilts. Most of the time they are nice and say, “Love, Love, Love it” followed by, “That one is mine!”
One of the best parts of quilting is that I get to think as I sew. I often marvel at how we quilters take a heap of little patches and slivers and match them up to make larger blocks which are then joined to make a quilt. As I sit and lop off corners on three hundred fourteen tiny triangles I have time to contemplate life.
What I have come up with is that life is definitely as complex as the most complex quilt with points, circles, straight lines, and enticing color schemes. Life is complex. No other way to say it or explain it. There are days we can be overwhelmed with the mess of different directions that our thoughts and actions take us on. Other days we are feeling like an art quilt. All is beautiful and good and we should hang in a museum for the world to see.
There are days, I feel like a small sliver of fabric just waiting patiently on the ironing board. I can’t see the whole design and I don’t know if I will end up on the border or squarely in the center of the quilt. Of course, I like to think that I am the center square and the rest flow around me! But, when I look at our lives I can clearly see that most of the time it is the little slivers of life which are meaningful.
Big events, such as marriage, kids, and graduations are nice and welcomed but the little daily things are what makes things run smoothly. I had a friend ask me once what it felt like to have a long marriage. I thought about it for a while and told her that it was difficult to maintain a long marriage and that I couldn’t pick out one, single Spectacular thing that made it work BUT I could pick out many small things that kept it going.
And in reverse, I suppose in marriages that don’t become long, there are some very specific, small things that make the relationship unbearable to the other. Being a parent is certainly that way. The gift of children is the ultimate, spectacular, gift but then it is the daily pecking that is so hard to take. Those little insane issues that look so innocent to the bystander such as: smirking when being talked to, surviving the Jr. High make-up trials, standing in front of an open fridge door, shoving everything they own under the bed and declaring their room clean, eye-rolling, and whispering under their breath.
I took the teen male to account for this one day and he said, “It must not be under my breath if you can hear it.” I walked out of the room muttering under my breath, “…on my last nerve…” That boy is not only on the border of the quilt, he is also on the border of his life.
Just like little pieces of fabric add up to make an entire quilt, little bits of life add up to create our relationships. It is the little pieces we take for granted. Putting the toilet seat down. Bringing home flowers from the grocery store. Not flushing when others are in the shower. Clearing the table after a meal. Saying we are sorry. Opening the doors. Getting rid of the snakes that the cats drag up – now, that’s a man worth keeping.
I don’t think I am on the border just yet.