My mom is holding a quilt that she started many years ago. This quilt was made from dresses that she had handmade, sometime back in the 70’s. After the dresses had served their purpose, and she had aged to a grandma, she cut up those dresses into tiny very perfect squares. She did this with the intention of one day making a big quilt. But, as it does in so many cases, life got in the way and the quilt top was put aside and never finished.
When mom became too feeble to stay home alone, and we took her and dad’s house down, my wife found this quilt top and brought it home with us. Recently for moms 83rd birthday, my sweet wife finished this quilt top up and made it into a small lap blanket for mom to have as she lives in assisted living now.
I watched mom, who was once a formidable woman but now frail and fragile, looking at those squares and touching each one. She was reminiscing about each and every dress and where she wore it. What a beautiful memory to have in front of you.
But I also started thinking about how all of those symmetrical pieces of different colors actually make up the one body of the quilt. And that one body has a function that depends on each piece.
And then, it occurred to me that we would do better, as humans, if we were more like this quilt.
Each piece a different color, although many are from the same dress. Each piece of cloth as important as the one next to it. No piece is more or less more important than the other. Each square grips tightly to the one abutted to it, to keep the quilt together. When all of these pieces of fabric hold onto each other, the end result is one of a greater thing. They’ve all been joined together to keep my mother’s lap warm and give her solace and memories that she cherishes as she ages. Each 2x 2 piece of old fabric has a job that’s the same as the other’s jobs around it.
Most if not all of the quilt was made from polyester, as that was the style in the 70’s. One of the benefits of polyester was that it was stretchy and it was giving when more giving was needed.
They’ve all been joined together to keep my mother’s lap warm and give her solace and memories that she cherishes as she ages. Each 2×2 piece of old fabric has a job that’s the same as the others around it.
If the pieces were individually scattered around on her lap, she’d be cold and she’s without the collective memory. It’s a scattered mess and nonfunctioning mess when one piece thinks it’s better than the others. It’s a useless pile of squares if it’s not sewn into one solid piece.
It’s a useless pile of squares if it’s not sewn into one solid piece.
Maybe one day, it could happen.
Perhaps we could all be together, tightly gripping each other and not worried about what happened yesterday or what could happen tomorrow. Not concerned about the quality or the color of the people that we’re clinging to. Not separated by imaginary barriers and excuses. We’d not be concerned with the history of the one scrap that may have been a work dress as opposed to the scrap from the dress made for her son’s wedding. Each piece working and not just talking about working or having meetings with food to talk about work that never gets done. Each piece actually working and doing what they’re supposed to do.
And how great this world would be if we could be more like that stretchy old polyester; giving when more giving was needed.
It’d be a time when we’re only concerned with our function as a whole;
to preserve humanity by all loving, all working and all equally helping the people that surround us.
That’s the best that I can tell about it.