Putting the Pieces Together – by Barbara M. Barthelette
One of my favorite hobbies is quilting. I like nothing better than taking unwanted scraps of fabric and making them into a whole. Needless to say, many of my projects incorporate pieces of the same fabric. I never thought much about this until someone mentioned that you can tell a Barbara quilt as at least one patch of it matches a dress or shirt worn by one of my family! Whenever I give someone the gift of a quilt, there is a little bit of ‘me’ included. And there have been times when friends have gifted me with pretty fabrics left over from their projects. I guess the ‘wholeness’ of some of my quilts comes from sharing.
Upon further consideration, I realized that we all contain bits and pieces incorporated from the world around us. We also share bits and pieces of our own experiences from the world around us.
You don’t have to look any further back then your own childhood. Besides the physical traits, what else did your parents give you? You can remember words, reactions, or criticisms that have stayed with you until this day. You not only remember these words, they shaped the way you think, act, or react today. In other words, you have a few patches from the fabric of your parent’s lives!
Well, this goes beyond our family. We are forever giving away scraps of ourselves each day through the way we treat others.
What a responsibility God has blessed us with and how few people actually take it to heart! We wouldn’t give people ragged clothing, used cosmetics, or stale food. Why don’t we realize that thoughtless remarks and deliberate hurts are given away forever once they leave your lips? A personal remark is a piece of yourself freely given to another and will become a part of that person’s life. An unkind, personal remark is a mean offering..
If we believe our catechism, we know that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. Why don’t we think about this when we give our fellow human beings a piece of our mind and not of our heart?
I think about this when I quilt and gather up my scraps of fabric to see if they will turn into a quilt. I think about this when I review my day and look over the bits and pieces of life that were handed me along the way. It is just like piecing a quilt as I muse over these feelings and determine where they will fit in the fabric of my life.
Anger, irritability, and even meanness can be a part of our spiritual quilt – just like clashing colors worked into a real quilt. Do they belong there? Do you want them there? When you share your spiritual patchwork, are you passing the ugly, mismatched colors on to others?
A quilt should be put together with happiness and enjoyed. And the overflow of colors you share should be gently tendered in kind words and soft phrases because others want to incorporate the best into their life’s quilt, too.
Wholeness doesn’t just happen. When I make a quilt, I gather my scraps. If I need more, there are people who share. Do we always share in order to insure that others attain wholeness? How are we shaping the pattern of our neighbor’s life?