People like to compare life to a puzzle, and I think there’s a lot of truth and metaphors within that phrase. However, I like to think of my life as a patchwork quilt.
No one thing, culture, set of people, or lifestyle has defined me. I’m a unique mix of all these things; all these elements have made me into the intricate and frankly, complicated, person I am.
I think there’s a beauty to patchwork quilts. A lot of times it’s random colors and cubes that you wouldn’t put together, but somehow it works. Back in the day, quilting groups would bring swatches of cloth that meant something, or could be linked to a memory. These small pieces of fabric, from different people, were sewn together to create a blanket that holds mysteries and memories; while all different, they come together to form a stunning piece of artwork.
Our lives are a lot like that, aren’t they? These “swatches” are pieces of our lives, from our birth to our today; all these pieces are sewn together to create a single thing, in this case: us. Each “swatch” holds a story; it holds memories of days past and so many people have invested time and energy to ensure that it can be the best possible. Maybe, instead of imagining our lives as a puzzle that needs to be completed, we should see our lives as a quilt that is in the working, filled with days past all sewn together to represent who you are becoming.
Now for the fun part! We are going to imagine this quilt. Have a picture in your brain? Good. Now I want you to look at some of the individual pieces of fabric.What do they look like? What do they represent? What pieces of your life make up your quilt?
Here are some of mine:
God. He was the first one to pick up a needle, the first one to begin this quilt. His swatch is of Him holding a little girl, who is me. All this time, He’s had his hand in my life, leading me exactly where He wants me. He’s the only one who can see the end result of this quilt, and He’s the one making sure all the threads are tight and secure, while preparing more squares to be added.
China. One of the first sewn pieces, it’s rather big because China has made such a large impact in my life and I don’t want to forget that. I like to picture this fabric as a smaller version of the Chinese flag.
My birthparents. I can’t really imagine what this one looks like; it's just two people holding a baby. All we can see is their backs. But still, they are essential to include, even if part of that patch is a mystery.
My family. If there’s any doubt, I love my family, and they are my people. Of course they would be one of the biggest squares on here. I like to picture this part as six people embroidered onto the fabric, all holding hands.
My friends. This patch is interesting as it’s not as big as you would expect. But the details are impressive. Four of my closest friends are in the forefront, while shadows of other people linger in the background. I think this cube represents those who are with me, and those who aren’t anymore. It’s bittersweet, but that’s what gives this quilt so much depth.
The Newest Flower, Okay, you guys had to expect this one. This book was written when I was trying to grasp how I felt about being different, and the opportunities and growth I’ve had from this book have shaped me in so many ways.
Gotcha Days. I like to see this section broken into little squares, each one holding a memory from earlier Gotcha Days. It’s a bright, cheerful cube, and you have to use a magnifying glass to see all the little engravings. But this cube represents celebration, a joy that cannot be measured, so this is one of the most priceless swatches to me.
I could go on and on about all the little moments that have brought me here, but I’m not going to do that. These are some of the most notable squares in my quilt, and these ones showcase my journey. I would like to challenge you to reflect and find out which ones best showcase your journey, and think about why. May you all be blessed as we all continue to add swatches to our own quilts.