Family, friends, casual acquaintances, heroes, scoundrels, and strangers. Trials, tests, failures, successes, great ideas, terrible ideas, highs and lows. All of them are grafted into our lives for various reasons.
“To everything there is a season, and a time for every a purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
“A time to sew…” Well – there it is! I call it the patchwork quilt of LIFE.
Patchwork by definition is:”Needlework in which small pieces of cloth in different designs, different colors, and different textures are sewn together.” The two key words here are ‘different’ and ‘together’. Everything can be different and still be together.
My mother in law used to sew quilts. Quilting was HER thing, and not mine. She was a skilled seamstress, and to her credit she tried very hard to teach me how to quilt. I did NOT have her skill nor her patience. However, I would watch her while she quilted, as I found it intriguing.
She would take some of the most random unappealing and distasteful pieces of cloth and cut them into squares. She would also have beautiful and colorful (and much more appealing) pieces of fabric. Stacks of material would start to appear, all mismatched and random. I remember wondering how on earth this could ever turn into a thing of beauty.
She would then begin to piece them together, which really made me shake my head even more. Some colors didn’t match with the colors she sewed them next to. Frankly, it looked like a hodgepodge and a disaster, and a mess.
Ah, but THAT was just the one side.
When she was done placing each piece where she wanted it, and it was all sewn together, THEN would come the great unveiling! She would flip the quilt over and VOILA’ – lo and behold would be the most beautiful pattern you had NO idea would be there.
I realize that THIS is life.
All the people , all the experiences, all the ever changing seasons, all the things that don’t match up, all the questions without answers – ALL of it that seems like a hodgepodge and a disaster and a mess – ALL of it will be placed in its rightful spot by the hand of the Master Designer of our lives.
The secret to life is found in the wait. You must wait to see why. You must wait to see when. You must wait to see who. You must wait to see how. If you give up or give in too soon, you never get to see the unveiling.
We are each a work in progress.
The actual process of quilting sounds a lot like life – choose, gather, cut, sew, baste, stitch, bind and enjoy. If you think about it this applies to relationships, careers, personal well being, decision making, faith, and life skills in general.
“Being confident of THIS, that He who began a good work in YOU will carry it to completion…” (Philippians 1:6) Just like my mother in laws beautiful quilts, so are WE being fashioned – one tiny square at a time.
And the goal should be and CAN be that our lives unfold as a thing of beauty to behold.