Thirty years ago I decided it was time to learn how to quilt. My sister-in-law pieced some beautiful works of art and I always wanted to explore my own skills with fabric. So, pregnant and with a three-year-old by my side, I ventured through various shops gathering information. The skywalk store was offering a beginner class that promised to teach everything I needed to know so I signed up. Without the basics, all I had was the desire to learn this new thing. The teacher provided the pattern and with her expertise we selected fabrics that matched Jonathan's bedroom wallpaper. Dark and light greens with a touch of pink seemed to go together well, so I purchased what I needed. For several weeks I attended classes and learned the basics of this craft: how to measure and cut, how to piece, how to create borders and bindings, how to hand quilt, and then took off on my own. I gave birth to our second son a few months later and that quilt, with its many pieces, went into the closet.
But I kept getting it out whenever time allowed. Once the top was all put together, I sandwiched the batting and backing and with huge basting stitches prepared for the next step. My dear sister-in-law suggested a way to quilt it, by hand, of course.
Whenever I could find a moment, that quilt came back into my hands. By the time our son reached his eleventh birthday it was finished! Those little squares became my lifeline - to myself. When I forgot who I was this little creation told me again and again, "Don't forget you! You are enough for the task at hand! Keep coming back to remember."
In those years I didn't know about self care, taking time for myself or listening to my heart. But I did know that this quilt reminded me who I was and so I kept at it, until it was complete. I have made many other beautiful quilts, but this one is uniquely mine. It tells me that when I lose myself in the never ending to-do list, there are ways to come back, to remember.
Since those days I have developed a few other ways to be reminded of who I am:
- Scripture tells me that I am beloved of God. "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness."
- Music has a special pull for reminding. Jason Gray has a CD: A Way to See in the Dark and recently I played the first song, "Remind Me Who I Am", over and over. It comforted me greatly.
- There are some very special women who know me well. When I gather with them, they tell me. I leave renewed and refreshed in the message of my gifts.
- Every morning I write three pages in a spiral notebook as I listen to what my heart wants to say. This practice has led me to respect what I need rather than push it aside with pressure from my overbearing to-do list.
- Walking in the early morning, as the bright new sun peeks up over the dark tree tops, grounds me in my place in the world. That sun comes up without a word from me. There is order and beauty. Appreciating it gives me freedom to breathe deeply and pay attention.
- I have something to give. I can help others learn or remember who they are by my own unique, peace-maker way of encouraging and showing kindness.
- My husband's belief in me has allowed an exploration of healing and wholeness.
- Loving my family and others from the deepest place of already being loved is the surest way to remember. I don't give to get anything back; affirmation is given to a place already full...of God's love and my own. (This one takes a deeper determination.)
- Many years later I started writing! Ah, yes, writing...does it every time.
How do you come back to yourself? What ways have you found to remind yourself of God's love for you, and your acceptance and respect for yourself?
This quilt is my reminder and I cherish it along with the eleven years it took to complete it. Those were forming years of working, mothering, home schooling, preparing meals, keeping our house clean and being exhausted. But I came out stronger, wiser and delightfully more free to be me.