Like any child chasing after a firefly, I think that the art of quilting is like chasing after joy for me. In that joy, all the problems of my life are solved. Metaphors appear for me that answer questions in my mind that I never ask out loud. I am learning patience, and through patience, I've come to respect time and its passing and so am softened in my heart.
Here is the result of a lot of work I did yesterday in cutting workable pieces from holiday-themed leftovers. Through quilting, I learn self-respect which prepares me to contribute without strings, and by participating in the cutting of the fabrics into pieces, I know that the joining of all those pieces will bring wholeness.
The next step in joining pieces is never easy. Like rough spots we face in life, and I face in quilting, they serve to deepen the understanding of yet more lessons in accuracy, which is simply a tool that brings the project together easily. However, it is quite easy to turn my back on joy when little things happen that are beyond my control. Fabric shifts, the needle moves to change the seam allowance, or the thread runs out on the bobbin. These back stage events are hardly thrilling.
And yet, wow. When I think of all the times when things change, when time runs out on a person's life, or when things are simply over, doing this fabric art shows me that there is always more joy possible.
When someone holds up a finished quilt, or some other work of art, few of us understand what it takes to get to that place. We can be totally unaware of the many frustrations, the many hours of prep work, or all the time and money that goes into making the work of art.
Just like chasing a firefly, the real thrill of that moment is the laughter, the running in the night and seeing the prize in front of us turn off its light and hide, only to appear in another spot, twinkling and urging us onward. In quilting, it is the joy of repurposing fabric leftovers, remembering where they came from, how they have been used and dreaming. Dreaming is joy too.