This post might feel a little different to begin with, but hang with me. It is connected to my art and specifically my quilting. As my blog is designed to do, I hope it brings encouragement.
This week, for my “day job” I attended worship in a congregation that was not my own. I do this often honestly, so I am very aware that all congregations are different. I am not talking about denominations here – I work with the same denomination all the time. In fact, I work “for” them. But, within this group, and I imagine within others, they all have their own personalities and ways of celebrating or honoring specific days in the church year.
For this past Sunday, the Sunday following November 1st, my denomination remembers All Saints Day as a time to lift-up the names of those saints who have gone before us. The congregation I attended does this in the same way each year. They have a book. Each year, the pastor writes down the names of all the members of the congregation that have passed in the last 12 months. Then the book is placed in a location to allow members of the congregation to include any names of those who have passed that they love. Then, on the first Sunday after November 1, All Saints Day, during the Prayers of the People, the pastor reads each name, slowly, intentionally, one by one. I have no idea how many names were on the list in this congregation, or how long the list actually took to read, I didn’t even know any of the names on the list, but I was struck in the gut.
To be clear, this is not the first time I have been a part of this process. In fact, in years past, I have personally added my Granny Love, Grandma Spencer and others to the list.
Instead, this was the first time I was an outsider. The first time I had no connection to anyone on the list. As I sat, and listened to the names, I began to hear the sounds of tears. Sniffles. Just tiny ones, here and there, that paid witness to the love and memories in the room. Paid witness to the power of the act.
It hit me. It hit me hard.
I often feel like we live in such a fast paced world. A world that values progress, production, instant gratification. A world that connects electronically. A world that stops for nothing and no one. A world that would rather throw something away and get a new one rather than fix it. A world that compares, degrades, and doesn’t like when people show emotion.
But not here. Not this day. Not in this place.
Here, the world stopped. It stopped and calmly and lovingly spoke the names of all the saints we have loved and lost. It didn’t rush it. It didn’t try to find a way to maximize the time spent. It didn’t look for a way to streamline. It stopped. It spoke with love.
And that my friends, is a rarity.
In my own creative process, I find myself caught up in getting projects finished. I get caught up in making something “shiny” that will draw attention to my IG account or Facebook world. I find myself making something that “I” am not crazy about because I think that “others” will like it.
I guess it is only natural, but I couldn’t help thinking, “What if I could learn from this? How might I apply this slowing down and intentionality to my own art and creativity?” What would I be making? What would I be designing? How much time would I really want to spend on it? What would it do for my emotional health?
Would it even matter?
So this blog I have been writing the past month is a start. I am sure I could come up with topics that maximize my Google search. “Quilt sizes” “Jelly Roll Patterns” Etc.
Instead, and because I just love to write, I am choosing to only write posts that hit me out of my life and provide encouragement for me. Not posts with answers, but rather questions. So, I guess, in that respect, and to be fair, I have to leave it with two questions…
"Would it even matter?”
“How would I even do that?”
Image: The baptismal font in the image is located at Christus Victor Lutheran Church in Columbia, SC. I made it as a commission in early 2000.