Friday, October 08, 2010

The joy of quilts ...

Today I was invited to participate in the dedication service for a quilt at the local care home. The quilt will hang in the chapel space of the care home while it is not in use. The intended use of the quilt is to cover the body of residents when they are removed from the building following their death.

The quilt, the creation of a local woman and her sister, celebrates the four seasons and is intended to offer comfort and meaning to residents, visitors and members of the care team who view it, and when needed use it.

The following is the reflection I crafted for the service led by the facility chaplain, myself and my Anglican Colleague:

All of us, somewhere in our homes have a quilt that has been passed down from generation to generation. I might be pristine, carefully wrapped and stored away so that it doesn’t get dirty or damaged, or it might be patched and frayed, worn and tattered from its use over the years.

Whatever it looks like, and whatever the condition, it is something that reminds us of the past, while also celebrating the amazing diversity of life as it is lived and celebrated in its fullness. Quilts are integral to our lives. In this area early settlers quickly crafted quilts to keep them and their families warm in the long dark cold winter nights. Quilts took cast off bits and pieces of fabric and with time, patience and artistic flare created something that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Quilts marked the safe arrival of children, the covenant of marriage between young lovers, the warm comfort of home in times of illness, and offer a safe, warm refuge that envelopes us in comfort and care when we need it most.

Quilts are very much reflective of our lives. They are created by gathering bits and pieces of fabrics and weaving them together. Patterns and designs are created with the use of diverse colours and shapes. Seams bind together fabrics that differ in colour, density, and texture. Beauty is in the details and in the broad brushstrokes. Loving care is expressed through the individual stiches and through the care taken to bring all the bits and pieces together in a beautiful work of art.

In the passing of the seasons, quilts gain meaning and value as memories are gathered and connected with the fabric and the thread. Like our lives quilts become worn and in places frayed, split seams are repaired and replaced, frayed corners are fixed and patches might be applied. With each washing and each usage the beauty of the quilt deepens as more memories are associated with the simple fabric that has been crafted into an object of beauty and love.

This quilt before us has been envisioned, crafted and created with deep care for those whom it will serve. It will not be tucked in a closet and preserved for future generations, but will be part of the Spiritual Life of this place, and this community. It is a gift of talent, ability and memory to all those who come and visit, those who call this place home, and those who join in the life and work of this community.

This quilt will through its presence and beauty celebrate the passing of the seasons, and the power of the Human Spirit to live fully through the journey of life. Taking bits and pieces of fabric and with time, care and skilled stitches, the artists and caregivers have created something more than the sum of its parts ... something that affirms life and celebrates the seasons we live ...

1 comment:

indigo said...

That is a lovely piece of prose for what I am sure is a lovely quilt.