After all of the Valentines were opened at my house I remembered this analogy someone told me several years ago. Paraphrasing, it went like this:
Our lives are like puzzles and all of the pieces are up there in the sky. Every so often a piece falls down and it fits into place. We might not know now how everything's going to fit together, but it’s all up there, and eventually, when the pieces do come together, it will all make sense to you.
I really enjoyed the process of making the fabric collage Valentines for my family this year. I was introduced to this approach of simply using fabric scraps and a glue stick at a workshop I went to by L’Merchie Frazier a few weeks ago. For me, the fabric collages are like puzzles. I grab a piece of fabric, having no idea how it will fit on the paper. I just glue it down and then pick up another piece. I try to do it being as open and non-judgemental as possible, because I have no idea how I will piece the whole thing together. I just grab another piece and see where it wants to go in relation to the piece I just put down. In the end, I get what I get. Somehow, it all gets pieced together to make the whole. It's also fun to put the finished pieces together in different arrangements as you can see from the four I made above. They make their own new pattern as well. A collective love piece, if you will :)
A step further, when I think about the “big picture” of love and life, and equate the fabric puzzles with a quilt of sorts and how it all gets stitched together, I am reminded once again that maybe we can find comfort in what may seem like our life’s patchwork quilt even if we feel uncertain about what is in front of us...or what puzzle piece will fall from the sky next.
We may feel poked and pierced, or torn apart from pieces ripping. We may have to take the time to mend places where the fabric runs thin, we might have to add a patch that might look and feel like an eyesore, but gets the job done and keeps us warm and safe, and eventually feels like just the right thing we needed without maybe fully appreciating it at the time. Love isn’t all warm and fuzzy. It can get hard and challenge us. As with the saying about a broken vessel..the cracked parts are where the light can enter, or when we repair the vessel with gold it gets stronger and adds value.
This past month at the Ladies Entrance, Raggedy Ann made an appearance at our Back of the Envelope Love workshop. She also reminds me of what it might be like to get “put in the ringer”, or “have the birds pick at your stuffing”, “stuck in a tree” or “ hanging out flat to dry” Raggedy Ann, all patched together, makes it through. When she needs to be repaired after falling into a bucket of paint, she has a secret candy heart sewn inside of her. Her friends were worried about what happened to her after the paint mishap, however she returns delighted with her new heart. She had no idea that was going to happen..a delightful "puzzle piece" for her, for sure!
When we can come together and hold space for one another while creating, healing happens. Our quilts, our stories, our experiences may all be different but there are always common threads among us. I have witnessed this in the art workshops and offerings we have had at the Ladies Entrance. The only thing you need to bring is yourself and your openness. You never know what piece of your own puzzle might become a little bit clearer or known to you from the experience.