I have been an enthusiastic quilter for a year and a half. Insiders call this hobby a virus! If you have caught it you will probably never get rid of it. Thankfully my husband and youngest son have patience and understanding because when the virus is activated, my whole household gets out of order.
My dining-room table is covered with cloth patches. Many times the table is not big enough to hold all the material, so I soon have my living-room carpet covered with more patches! Little stacks of cloth can be seen everywhere as I sort the material by type and color. Soft muslin, damask, cotton, satin, silk, linen, calico, you name it, I have the material. Pins are another working hazard of the quitter. They can be found all over the house. Families of quitters soon know to look before sitting!
I see this hobby as a symbol of life.
A quilt is made up of many small patches, many kinds of different materials. Sewing cotton and linen together is quite easy, but sewing others types of fabric together can be quite difficult. Adding a swatch of silk can dampen the enthusiasm of even the most experienced quitter. The fabric begins to go askew and the corners don't fit exactly. At such times, frustration can occur and quilting loses some of its charm.
Each patch is like a piece of my life, a period in my life that has been given to me. There are happy patches full of wonderful memories, soft positive patches that symbolize inner peace and promises for the future. And then there are hard-to-work-with materials: patches of frustration, disappointment, difficulties, and di 'couragement; these patches don't want to fit into my quilt because of their structure.
I experienced a relatively carefree childhood. After high school, I trained as a nurse in the profession of my dreams, married the man of my dreams and was able to hold the sweetest baby in my arms. Everything seemed to work out according to my wishes. My husband and I were both serving the Lord and everything looked wonderful. My quilt consisted only of beautiful harmonious patches, and it was a joy to look at. But then came a coarse patch of black cloth into all this harmony. Abdominal pain and our longed-for second child ended in a miscarriage.
How I would have liked to rip out the ugly patch but the thread was too strong. It had already become a part of my life and could not be exchanged. It was a disappointment I did not want to accept.
A quilt consists of three layers: the top with the patches, the filling, and the lining.
The top layer can be compared to the pattern of our life. Many times we have no influence on what "patches" we will be given. The filling supports the patch, it gives volume and warmth. It symbolizes our personality. Fillings come in different thicknesses as do personalities. The lining holds everything together. It is a symbol of God's love. We don't always see the lining, we don't always show it, particularly if the top has turned out well. It is only when we don't really like the top too much, when the individual patches seem too rough, that we take the time to look at the lining.
Sometimes when I look at my quilts, I see one I would like to change. I find a patch I no longer like, one that drives me to despair. I want to take it away and exchange it for a soft patch. But I discover that everything has long since been joined together through the quilting. My life is so like my quilts. The filling (my personality) and the lining (God's love) will keep together the patchwork quilt of my life. My quilts have some patches that are soft. They symbolize the times in my life when things are going smoothly. Other patches are not as smooth; they symbolize the trials of life like the time my husband was diagnosed with a severe illness or the period of time when we had to deal with some serious family problems. But when I look at the quilt and see it in its entirety, I see a beautiful design. When I look at my life, I see the promise that one day we shall be together with our loved ones in God's kingdom. I see a time when I shall be united with my babies who were born too soon.
The beautiful pattern of my quilt is made of so many patches. I look at it and my life and am reminded of the poem "Plain and Simple" by Sue Bender.
The world can sometimes meet us in fragments. But the parts alone are not the problem. If our pattern is strong enough they can make up a whole.
Though my life may have some "ugly patches" here and there, I can accept them, for I know the lining, God, will support me.