Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Practice Pieces

As the day wore on, I found myself tearing into a couple of fabric stash bins, first to look for more fabric for a few more practice pieces, and then to re-organize the bins. How many times do we have to do this? I know that being organized is all about retrieving things quickly and effortlessly. And finding something quickly relieves stress. 

I let the fabrics tumble out on my queen-size bed and began a new round of sorting. This time, it was reds and red-related in one pile, blacks in another, and blues/greens in the third pile. After they were folded, stacked and put away, I turned to the lighter colors, and then the task was complete.

My spiritual life is like that too. Sometimes I keep a lot of things in my closet, tucked away with the doors closed. Not looking at them, not thinking about them, not feeling.

How do you stop the pain of feeling alone, fragile, and anxious? You answer, 'fine' when someone asks how you are. 

My Niece surrendered to the war against leukemia a few months ago. She was 31, mother of three daughters and married to the love of her life. One day she was healthy & active, and then not. I cannot talk about the pain I feel right now and think it needs to stay in my closet, in a box with other boxes resting on it to keep it quiet.

Here she is with a simple comfort quilt I made her after she started chemo (holding her youngest daughter). Goddess, what a beautiful soul she was. Tears come for me now just to see her smiling face. In fact, she used to say that she did her part in the world by simply smiling. Now she is gone.

Death is a part of life, and most of us have strong opinions about the quality of life. We have to dump the boxes of our opinions out and look at them to see what we really believe.

I was making another holiday quilt for her for Solstice this year, and now I cannot bear to finish it. The grief took me out for several weeks after getting home from her memorial and three weeks with my sister. Quilting helps ease the heartache. Some. And not really. I had to push myself to work on any of them. Deep inside me, I knew that if I didn't push, that I would stop living myself.

Life has taught me that time eases it all. And quilting is generative contemplation for me. It means that the piece of who I am who loves people in my life is able to create something for them to have as a sort of continuity from me to them; continuity in the family, in the community and in the world around us.