Quilting: a Metaphor for Life

It doesn’t look like much, this initial practice piece from my first official “quilting” class. But as I learned about “scant quarter inch seams” I thought about the narrow margin between right and wrong, good and bad, perfection and sloppy…. add your own duality here. Our instructor had made his living as an engineer. He and his late wife, and now his new wife, find joy in the minutia of details involved in “properly” piecing quilts. “The Devil’s in the Details” as they say.

As I learned how to “flower” an intersection of multiple pieces to reduce the bulk, I thought about how sometimes the most direct method is the best for smoothing difficult moments in life. How often do we ignore the “bump” but let it fester? We could just as simply apologize, or put words to the problem, open up discussion, reach understanding and smooth something over. Granted, some people I know seem to take such ownership of their judgements, in the face of contradictory facts, that the bump remains inevitable. But, fortunately, those individuals are few.

I find “beauty” in asymmetry. So when my seams don’t line up, I find it interesting. Asymmetry is the basis of my fabric art. Others may find that annoying. How many times in our lives have we let some little thing get blown out of proportion? How many times have days gone by when we have ruminated on some small thing until it consumes our every thought in some way? Perhaps we can learn to see the problem, as a “bump.” Perhaps we can look at that “bump” in a new way that can release our obsession with it, and let us find the beauty in that difference.

I’m hoping, as I age, that I can learn to accept differences in others as a new level of “beauty” in my life. There’s a lot of ugly asymmetry in the world today. Many “bumps” we can obsess on in these tumultuous times. But we don’t have to let it darken everything in our lives. Those few individuals who love their judgements more than their community, their world, their family,….. can remain in the background. Instead, we can piece together our joy and our future with those who bring beauty into the “quilted fabric” of our lives.


Happily retired! Renewing my interests in music and art. Hoping to improve my skills in all creative areas.

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