Piecing life together…

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” ~ Bruce Lee

quilt pink double wedding ring

Heirloom quilts and Bruce Lee quotes? Leave it to a women’s fiction writer.

Quilts are strong, durable things once they’re pieced together. From variant bits of fabric, often discarded scrap, evolves a tapestry that can last decades, centuries. Like any other unique idea, any creation, any voice uniquely owned. And if you make a mistake making a quilt, making a life, making a vision come into being, you can always pull stitches out, see your next path more clearly, readjust and rework.

It’s hard work, leaving something so beautiful and enduring as your legacy. But look at the amazing thing you’ve done, once you admit what you know, what you don’t, what you’ve done wrong up ’til now, and make the decision to move onward.

I don’t craft quilts, though the gift is in my genes, women on both sides of my family craft working their entire lives. I craft words and thoughts and ideas into story. I miss and mess up more than I nail a concept at first pass. I flounder and struggle and prick my pride and damage my self-esteem and let the language the moment get the best of me, when the vision of the whole is what matters. And then I right myself. I admit my folly. I push on, forgiving what’s not perfect behind me and focusing on what I’ll discover next that will make the quilt of my new creation that much stronger.

Quilts are like families in my creating these days. They’re like life. They’re like living. Tiny bits of blood might be lost along the way, when you prick your finger and stumble through a stitch. If you look closely at heirloom quilts like the one above, you’ll often find tiny drops of blood from the crafter’s hand, forever marking the fabric with the effort and sacrifice that the creation took. But the glorious result trumps all. It sings. It will speak forever, if we protect and preserve what’s best from our time creating. What’s mistaken as much as what’s made fine.

So the tiny mistakes we make, the tiny bites time takes from us as our families grow, our pasts, our memories… How do we forgive them? How do we continue to hope? I surround myself with vintage things. Have for years. And I’m just beginning to understand why, as my heirloom quilt collection grows, as my stories grow, as my family grows.

Mistakes, not playing it safe and expecting perfection, are how we grow into the magical creations we’re meant to become.

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