Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In Stitches - Kathleen Gibson

I'm sewing again, for the first time in eons.

It started with a trip to the store to buy six kitchen chair cushions – and a trip from the store without any kitchen chair cushions. “I refuse to pay $15.99 apiece for cushions I like, let alone ones I don’t,” I told the Preacher later.

Back home, I dug out some leftover upholstery material and an unused memory foam mattress topper stored in the basement. I’d kept both for years, sure I’d use them – one day. Then from the depths of the hall closet I mined the third part of the equation: my almost-antique Elna sewing machine, buried under kids' puzzles and a toy doctor’s kit. Solid steel and obedient as a steed, last time I used it.

Old Iron Horse needed cleaning and oiling, but after that, it galloped smoothly around the cushion fabric; straight to the finish line each time. A day and a half later, I didn’t have a weekly column written, but my family sat on new chair cushions and a matching runner sat on our table. Placemats, already cut, wait for another weekend.

When our marriage was young, and the children too, I sewed plenty. Raised by two creative parents, I learned early in life that few things are as rewarding as using your own hands to bring form and substance from something lacking in both. I took the same pleasure in a finished sewing project as I have done for years in a finished article or book.

Something unexpected happened during the stitching of those cushions. Amidst the hum of my machine and the crunch of scissors biting through fabric; between enjoying the feel of fabric slipping through my fingers and the sight of each completed cushion, I remembered how I once loved sewing. How its monotony hollowed out a sacred space for thought. Stilled me.

I can't say when it happened. But somewhere along the writing path I’ve followed with such passion for so long, I have subconsciously bought into a falsity: that creating a beautiful pile of words is worth more in God’s eyes than any other activity I (or my neighbor) could do with a pure heart and honest intent. I am wrong, and I needed the Iron Horse to remind me.

We revere the arts, both in society and our churches. We call God the Consummate Artist and vault musicians, artists, writers, worship leaders and their works to unattainable heights of favour. We are wrong there too. God is indeed a Consummate Artist, but scripture reveals him as Consummate
Everything. Surely then, all we do with a spirit consistent and true to the Son of God in us, is equally valuable in his eyes.

What are you up to, fellow Christ-follower? Plumbing, teaching, building, crafting, cooking, serving?  Whatever God leads you to, do it for his glory. And never forget: his smile rests on you.

I will spend this weekend too, in stitches.

Author, newspaper columnist, broadcaster and speaker, Kathleen Gibson lives in Saskatchewan, Canada. Find her online, on Facebook, and sometimes behind her sewing machine.


Peter Black said...

Thank you, Kathleen. What a fun read! You soften us up and then really sock it to us, don't you? :)
A timely and, I suggest, a seriously necessary message to those of us involved in Christian ministry. ~~+~~

Lux Ganzon said...

What a beautiful reminder, Kathleen. Let the work of our hands bring glory to our Maker.

Thank you, TWG for sharing this.

fudge4ever said...

Oh this is so true, Kathleen. God takes delight in all of our service, and all of it is sacred. And by the way, I used to sew too when my children were little. I avoid it though, because I always gained 5 pounds every time my the thread-tension went wacky! I love your table runner and cushions!

Glynis said...

Beautiful work - both on the page, here and in your dining room. I loved the sounds and the visuals you created (crunching scissors biting through the fabric) but more, I loved the lesson gleaned about how important it is to do [whatever] to His glory - alone. Lovely, Kathleen.

Kathleen Gibson said...

Thanks for the kind words, friends. I finished the placemats in time for Easter. Moving on to a couch slipcover next...that may just end the sewing streak.

Kathie Chiu said...

As I was reading this I was instantly transported to the early 90's when we kneeled on the floor together - you in stitches over my attempt to sew a pair of shorts! When I realized what you were saying, I joined in the hilarity! Many happy moments in that two short years, many of them in your company over tea 😊

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