Learning From a Quilt

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The beginning of the autumn season in Calgary’s exquisite Bowness Park
Photo taken by the author during a recent rollerblade

“Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.”
– Author unknown

Life in general, and our lives in particular, is a process of being put back together again. Things have been lost in our life I’m sure you’re acutely aware of. Yet, despite this loss there is a fierce determination within each of us that wants all of it – all of you – back. Think of your life as a quilt of patterns, and through the various ways your life has come to be, some of those squares have been lost or have fallen off the once interwoven patchwork. The arrangement and assortment of each multi-layered textile was originally hand-sewn by someone who knew what they were doing when they made you. Sure, parts of the fabric have been misarranged or mishandled, but is not restoration a process any master craftsman would be committed to for each of their own?

Now, understand the patterns of your life are coming back to form one elegant quilt again. Each one of those exquisite and colourful patterns represent the uniqueness of who you are and what you have to offer (that no one else can, by the way.) Just as no one person is the same, so also no one quilt is identical to another. Essentially, a quilt can be likened to one’s own fingerprints. They are commonly used as a security practice in identifying an individual’s identify; thus, representing one of the key ways of determining a person is who they say they are.  A person’s fingerprint is a unique identifier of their personhood. Likewise, the unique tapestry of patterns on a quilt shows that no two quilts are the same; rather, each array of design is entirely different.

“Remember, people will see your quilts long after you are gone.”
– Author unknown

Here’s the point: everyone encounters setbacks and difficulties from time to time. There is no escaping this; yet, it does not have the final say. As Winston Churchill wisely once said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” So I urge you to have courage through each tough situation you face. Doing so is one of the ways in putting the pieces back together again – becoming whole. Wholeness to me is freedom. It’s one and the same. The key here is finding and discovering areas of your life that are freeing for you, what you do well, and what you are gifted at. A clue to one’s wholeness, or freedom, are the strengths one has been given. We all have them. They are those things we do very well, perhaps even better, than other’s around us. Our strengths are those tangible qualities that come to us and out of us naturally and effortlessly. Our strengths are what form our own extraordinary quilt.