On Quilting

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Despite my love of Pinterest, I am not the least bit crafty. I love art and color, but it’s the process that intrigues me, not the product. I’ve begun several love affairs with knitting only to have skeins upon skeins of yarn knotted in my lap and a sharp pair of scissors helping me get my revenge. My only mildly successful craft attempt was making a small quilt for my younger brother when he was born. I didn’t have the least bit of knowledge about what I was doing-I chose colors I loved, mixed patterns, and hand stitched the squares together until they barely created an acceptable size rectangle for a newborn. I was quite proud of that quilt-the way each individual square held its own beauty, the way the squares washed together in the blanket, the mash up of controlled gingham prints and whimsical suns.

Lately, as we sit on the edge of a new school year, I can’t help but find similarities between my life and that quilt. We live in constant creation of our life’s quilt. We take squares of countries and cultures, professional colleagues and personal friends, and stitch them together into a daily life. For some that particular quilt may only last a short time-perhaps it never feels quite right-and for others the quilt is stable and dependable with maybe individual squares wearing over time, but the quilt largely remaining intact.

Right now, I see pieces of our former quilt flung all across the world. There are squares in Prague and Indonesia, Vietnam and the States, large swaths of fabric remain in India and Brazil but none of the squares are stitched together right now. We are about to start a new quilt, and while some of the squares may remain the same, many others will be unfamiliar to us.

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It’s a scary prospect starting anew every few years.

There are parts that are exciting-who doesn’t love a little reinvention every now and then-but there are plenty of days when you long for the familiar. You want the smell and touch you’ve become accustomed too, the colors and sites that may not always be the best, but they are the known. With that quilt there is no challenge of overcoming unfamiliarity.

As we stand two weeks out from relocating our personal and professional lives I find myself longing for the familiar quilt. That quilt wasn’t constantly as treasured as maybe it should have been, but it is known, and right now that seems far more comforting than creating something from nothing.

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I know these feelings come in waves and what is intimidating now will be exciting before long. I can only hope that our new quilt will eventually hold the same place in my heart as the old one did.

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