Inertia is not a word I hear often, but when someone said it the other day, what popped into my mind was: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. I don’t know when I learned Newton’s law of inertia —maybe fifty years ago—but it obviously stuck.

I hadn’t thought of inertia in a long time, but since hearing the word I can’t get it out of my mind. I’ve been thinking about how inertia works in my life, where I am in motion and where I am at rest.

Just days before my friend Jim died, he said, “I hope you start to sew again.” It was an odd, random thing for him to say—the wish of a dying man—and his words haunt me. Since his death more than four years ago, I have sewed a bit, but not started sewing in the way he meant.

Sewing is pure joy for me. In a very short time, I can transform a piece of fabric into a skirt or a dress. Sewing is magic and has always been a marvel for me.


I recently saw a news clip about an art program inthe Detroit public schools. As a glass blower changed a rod of glass into a vase, the camera captured the amazement on the faces of the children in the class. I could relate because art stirs the wonder of the child within me. Sewing is an art form that delights and transforms me.

So why have I not been sewing?


“I started sewing,” I told my mother the other day, and I know she hoped I would say I was working on her curtains. I had bought the fabric weeks ago and prepped it, but then did not sew the curtains. I don’t know why, but I just haven’t been able to get started. Inertia.

On that day, though, I did thread the needle and do a little mending, small projects that have been sitting on my sewing machine table for months, begging for my attention.

I have inertia around my prayer, too. I spend time in quiet every morning, but am I really praying? I read scripture and Morning Prayer. I journal. But actually praying, having a conversation with God, an open dialogue, listening for God’s voice, God’s direction? Like sewing, all the pieces are in place, but I seem unable to jump in and do it.

My inertia, I believe, is caused by the losses of the past six years; being at rest is a natural part of the grieving process.

I see signs though that I am moving through my inertia. Studying Polish, gardening, baking and cooking are all activities I have resumed after a time of being at rest.

Threading the needle to mend may have been the first step toward sewing, and a week’s retreat this winter will hopefully rekindle my prayer life and help me to re-engage more fully in life.




2 thoughts on “Inertia

  1. thenaughtybun

    Starting to sew again is a good thing. I’m sure your mum hoped for curtains, but anything that gets you going is good. Regarding those curtains, I have a suggestion. Why not ask your mum to help. Tell her you’ve been stuck and struggle to get going again. Sewing curtains is, imo, a dreadfully boring task. However, with another person or two to help it’s social and fun. Someone need to iron and put in pins and such, right? Why not get mum to do that part? She’ll get her curtains, and you’ll get that weight off of your chest, which I find is the kind of weight that suffocate the creative breath.

    1. Madeline Bialecki Post author

      Thanks for the suggestion. I love your image of “suffocating the creative breath” and think I will stay with that for a while, asking what exactly is suffocating my creativity around sewing and knitting, too. I love the blanket you made for your daughter. I started a blanket when I was caring for my friend Jim who had brain cancer, and I have not been able to finish that either. But, I pulled out a knitting project and put it next to my tv chair and tonight, I will knit! Thanks for your encouragement.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s