The windows in my new house are odd sizes, ruling out ready-made window treatments. Fortunately, I know how to sew. Home economics was a required class for girls in my elementary school, and I learned to sew when I was eleven years old.
I started sewing most of my clothes and then clothes for others. My younger sisters grew up wearing dresses I made—and later, their daughters did the same.
In just thirty minutes, I could take a yard and a half of fabric and change it into a skirt. Sewing was magical.
The whirr of the machine was a white noise that transported me to a place of silence and sharpened my focus—it was just me and what I was creating.
I was continually fascinated by the idea that a few cuts and some stitches could change an ordinary piece of fabric into something wearable.
Sewing became my icon for transformation—if I could work such magic, imagine what God could do with me, how God could cut away the excess and reshape me into something completely new and different.
Of course, the fabric gave itself over completely for me to rework it. I, on the other hand, have a free will, and it can be a very strong will.
Over the years, I have sewn clothes for a number of people. I once made a raw silk skirt for one friend and a wedding dress for another. One friend calls me every Thanksgiving when she dons the apron I sewed for her more than twenty years ago.
When I took a job that required a great deal of travelling, my sewing time diminished—a sewing machine does not travel well. Knitting became my go-to creative outlet, and I carried my yarn and needles around the world.
Gradually the amount of time I spent sewing dwindled to almost nothing. I don’t think I even touched my sewing machine during the nine months Jim was sick.
Jim’s illness gave him lots of time to ponder, and he processed the events and relationships of his life. He also thought about what my life would be like after he died. We knew that I was going to move to Michigan, and he wondered if I would live in the city or if I would plant a new perennial garden. He thought I should live near a lake. One day he suggested my new life should include sewing. It seemed so random.
But as I sat at my sewing machine the other day and started to make curtains, I remembered his comment. One of the things I miss about Jim is how tuned in he was to what nourished my spiritual life.