I've never made a quilt, but I admire people who can make beauty out of a myriad of shreds ... who have the eye for choosing the colours and patterns that work together ... who use shreds that in themselves aren't beautiful yet when worked with others, create a thing of beauty.
As I walked around the town, mesmerised by the skill of the quilters, I remembered a quote from the movie How to Make an American Quilt,
"Young lovers seek perfection, old lovers have learnt the art of sewing shreds together and of seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patterns."
Slowly it begins to dawn on the young woman that no matter what choice she makes, life will inevitably come with heartache and brokenness intertwined with joy and good times.
As I drove home that afternoon, I thought about the quilts, the quote and about how messy life is. I make mistakes and unwise choices. I’m human. Relationships break. We hurt one another, we forgive and start again. Life is made up of a thousand broken pieces ... pieces from every chapter of our lives ... beautiful bits ... painful bits ... colourful bits ... ugly bits.
When I was young I wanted everything to be perfect and struggled because it wasn't. I exerted enormous energy in trying to straighten out the topsy turvy, but to no avail. I had to learn the lessons that age alone could teach me, that life is messy and unpredictable, that I will fail and others will fail me ... there's no such thing as perfection. One day it dawns that we are all broken and most of us feel inadequate ... we are not alone.
Slowly I've accepted that life is a mixture of 'glory and grime'.
Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to believe the bad stuff… to focus on our mistakes and stuff ups … and so much harder to accept the good? Seeing good in myself feels like pride but I've come to realise that I need to hold the two in balance ... to accept my brokenness and value the way God has used it for good in my life, and at the same time enjoy and appreciate the good and beautiful things God created in me … “To be able to sew the shreds together and see beauty in a multiplicity of patterns.
Or as Corrie Ten Boom put it,
“The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.”