Barroom floors and spittoons. . . .
Oftentimes we are thrown onto ourselves to sink or swim. It may be a crisis at work, of illness, family or an unexplained malaise within us. We then must use inner resources simply to keep on keeping on. When conditions change, we look back and much to our surprise find we have done under uncompromising conditions, a commendable work. Not perfect, but when viewed from a different perspective, a cosmic perspective, our work has somehow gained a ‘wow’ factor.
This small quilt of scraps that was put together as a form of therapy to clean the worktable, surprised us. I forced myself to do what had once come easily and happily. I had not been up to par, but certain things needed doing. And recycling the fabric scraps was the priority. What resulted with no enthusiasm but a lifetime of ‘get busy’ is a bright and cheerful piece of artwork. (not yet completed of course)
It did not require an engineering degree or expensive tools, just bits of fabric scraps and a piece of flannel to attach them to. In simpler times it was done with scissors and needle and thread. What was the vital factor were the habits of a lifetime taught by someone who had a value system who cared about me, about life and about herself. Being a foster child, my mother was told every day that life was not free and ‘no one feeds you for nothing. So work.’ A hard premise and one difficult to live by.
But it gets one through hard times but not as hard as it was for the eight year old that she was who scrubbed the barroom floor and cleaned the spittoons of the saloon keeper who took her in. And these chores were done in the morning before she ran to her parochial school so as not to anger the nuns.
The patterns of our days make a certain shaped something of us. Our patterns contain crooked pieces and many times we would like to press the reject button. But life has a way of paying it forward that has a beautiful ‘wow’ factor as a result. Not perfect to be sure, but often better than we envisioned. The scrap quilt 100 years later shows a finely ground result of what we think are our insignificant lives. A small thing from earthly perspective but immense in its divine implication.