Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Light a Lamp for Someone

“If you light a lamp for someone, it will brighten your own path.” - The Buddha
It has been a long time since I've sat down with my sewing machine and made a quilt. Most of my guild work is made up of the duties of the president:  running errands, ordering supplies, receiving donations, attending to correspondence, communication, dropping off quilts for delivery, answering questions, coordinating activity. I have missed the creative part of simply making quilts for patients, but my skills have been needed elsewhere.
Katie's Comforters Guild receives beautiful gifts of new fabric, and I distribute it to those who make quilts. Some smaller pieces remain, however, and yesterday, I decided to try my hand at free-form sewing to make them into quilt tops. I knew that Lucile (our 90+ year-old guild member who sews nearly a quilt a day) would finish them, if I could turn some of the smaller pieces into larger ones.
Lucile gave me a lesson in how to do this a while ago, and I have been impressed by the fantastic creations which she and others like Bonnie P. and Polly have made with smaller pieces and "scraps" of fabric. While I'm nowhere near their level of expertise (or patience), I was able to make five quilt tops.
Fabric sewed into strips, then cut, turned and sewed back together
You could cut and turn these again to mix it up even more
Pale yellows on either side of deep blue
This has brought me a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction, and is so much fun that I'm finding it hard to stop - there are so many creative possibilities! If you have small pieces of fabric and don't know what to do with them, try sewing them into strips, and then cut the strips, turn them around, and sew them back together. It is easy enough for a beginner (like me), is a good way to use fabrics which don't appear at first to go together, and it is a great experience in simple design for beginning quilters.
Since I am awaiting "the call" to my next adventure (finished with class, putting feelers out for meaningful work, sharing my book, getting the house in order, letting go...), I am in a liminal space. This quote was encouraging, and is one reason why I brought the sewing machine out: 
"Those that be perfect (in union with God) carry always this mind, that when they perceive their labour to be fruitless in one place, to remove straight to another, where more good may be done." - Gregory the Great [6th C.], "Dialogues" "Sometimes we need to let go and move on or we do damage to ourselves and others. Where might this be the case at this time in your life?" - A Daily Spiritual Seed (subscribe HERE)
Since my dreams for the video came to a standstill, I have been seeking the place "where more good may be done." Sewing for patients of the hospital is a good place to do some good; it always brightens my spirits and takes me out of myself. This is a welcome movement for anyone whose life has been turned upside down. Even with the love of friends and family, there is a sense of isolation and "otherness" which tends to lead one's thoughts inward. Doing something for others helps to turn my heart outward.
A beautiful prayer, courtesy of the Center for Action and Contemplation:
"May each of us be so fortunate as to be overtaken by God in the midst of little things. May we each be so blessed as to be finished off by God, swooping down from above or welling up from beneath, to extinguish the illusion of separateness that perpetuates our fears. May we, in having our illusory, separate self slain by God, be born into a new and true awareness of who we really are: one with God forever. May we continue on in this true awareness, seeing in each and every little thing we see the fullness of God’s presence in our lives. May we also be someone in whose presence others are better able to recognize God’s presence in their lives, so that they, too, might know the freedom of the children of God." - James Finley
“The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.” - Anais Nin


Karen said...

I certainly experience God's presence from knowing you. I am so excited I get to meet you in person soon... So much so, that I had a dream about your family last night! My grandson and husband were there too! Cracked me up when I woke up this morning and realized that. I also appreciate the Whistler is most helpful. You like what I like.
Here's to an amazing 2014, following the move of God in our lives.

Elizabeth said...

I am certain you will find where you go next, Karen, and I look on that "next" as being someone's lucky day.

Karen Gerstenberger said...

Thank you both. I'm looking forward to seeing you & Joe soon, Karen! Elizabeth, how are your travel plans coming? I hope we'll be seeing each other soon, too!
xoxo to both of you.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Love this post. You using your scraps for good is kinda like making lemonade out of lemons.
I can't wait to see what is next for you; surely something wonderful!