I’ve been called a lot of things, but something I’ve never been accused of is being a procrastinator. Well, maybe when I was in junior high and battled my mom tooth and nail over hanging up my clothes and making my bed. But for most my adult life I’ve been a “get the hard thing done first” kind of gal. In college I literally never pulled an all-nighter. My friends would always make fun of me because I’d get a paper done three weeks ahead of time and be in bed by 10:00 without fail. I was the annoying girl who’d pop out of my room and ask my wing mates to “please keep it down, I’m sleeping.”
I like getting things done. Crossing things off to do lists is one of my favorite past times. I don’t like unfinished business. It keeps me up at night while I review my day over and over making sure I spent my time well. Waiting? The in-between? Not having a plan? Saying they are not my favorite is the understatement of the year. Got the picture? Put a pin in that thought for a minute.
Being a seamstress means inevitably someone wants to give you old stashes of unused fabric. Someone’s mother died or they’ve given up sewing or it’s just time to clean the old stash out. I do it too, from time to time, when I can bear to part with the tiniest scraps of my beloved fabric. I invariably say “yes” to ofher’s fabric because, well, let’s face it: I have a fabric problem. As I wade through bags or cardboard boxes and unbury layers of fabric I get a peak into the seamstress’s life. I see leftovers from curtains and pillows, portions of dresses and dress shirts — and my all time favorite — scraps of quilts. You’d be surprised how many people start a quilt and don’t ever finish it. Maybe life got busy or the project was more challenging than expected, but one way or another once loved and cared for quilts-in-progress get abandoned. Enter my inability to leave things unfinished.
I am obsessed with finishing quilts. I’ve made a hobby of making sense of someone’s leftovers and turning it into something beautiful. I hardly ever like the fabric choices, and often I despise the patterns, but I’m driven to finish these quilts. It almost feels like a way of honoring the person who started them. Even though most of those people we’ll never know about it, it feels right that these useless assortments of fabric become what they should — something useful, beautiful, and cared for.
There’s about a million analogies in there, I’m sure. The idea that God doesn’t leave us unfinished. That even when others have discarded us he continues the work of knitting, sewing, and weaving. Or the idea that there is beauty and value in follow-thru. Keeping ones word and being committed to the end matters. Or the thought that we are handed bits and pieces of brokenness in each of our lives and it’s up to us to make something beautiful come from it. Or that we need each other and stepping in when someone else cannot go on is worthwhile.
But mostly, I just find comfort in this little hobby. In the ritual of discovery and organization, which is followed by hours pinning, sewing, ironing, and quilting. The handiwork that marks each of my quilts and the feeling of accomplishment that I took ownership of a project and gave of myself for it. I think that’s the lesson in all of life — the process can bring as much joy as a finished project. And who we become, the sort of person we choose to be along the journey is where we find value.