Thursday, July 31, 2008

Inside Outside Upside Down

When I was growing up, we had one of those easy reader Berenstain Bears books all about prepositional phrases. This title describes perfectly the last six weeks of my life. From trying anxiously to mend a sad heart, to changes in roommates and reconfiguring our little house, to trying to get back on my feet in my social life, to stumbling through the complex interweavings of preparing for my oral comprehensive exams to the meticulous editing necessary for publishing a book review--my brain and body and heart have been pushed and pulled and twisted and turned to their utmost.

I believe in straight lines. I like to sew and quilt (another upcoming post on my newest frenzy: aprons!), but I always avoid curves and circles. There's something appealing about straight lines--they are predictable, they are quantifiable (no surprises around the corner)--you know clearly when they begin and end. They are clearly marked.

The other night I was up late with an early morning ahead, trying madly to finish sewing an apron for a birthday gift. I tend to get quite impatient and just want to finish things. I know I inherit in part this trait from my dear grandmother. She, too, is always anxious to finish a task, even if she has to use whatever color thread is at hand rather than the perfect match (yes, I tend to do this, too). It's just so natural to me. I quickly hemmed the fabric and went to bed. In the morning light, I realized how crooked my straight line turned out, with valleys and dips. Not attractive. At least not on a geometric retro orange fabric. So last night I carefully unpicked those hurried stitches and recut and rehemmed. Ah... there is nothing like a nice, straight, predictable hem.

I just wish I could do the same with my inside outside upside down life. I know, I know--that removes all the excitement and spontaneity of surprise, the delight of stumbling upon a beautiful scene around the corner, the scurry of constant change. But you know, in all reality, those crazy less-than-straight lines are what make me. And one day when I can see it all rather than the uneven stitches and jagged turns that seem to define my experience right now, when I can look back over my shoulder and trace the journey I've come, I hope--and I am banking on it--that all pieces will fall into place and make some miraculous design.
Not exactly straight stitches, but it adds to the charm, right?!?


Aunt Spicy said...

From where I stand, you and your life are already one amazing design! Thanks for the fabulous post, your the best!

Laurel said...

I love love love this post...and am so grateful that we have this blessing of each learning in our own experience but somehow being able to share that learning with each other.

God is good.
(as are you.)

Thanks for sharing.

The Wyler Family said...

that is beautiful. you're beautiful.

Kim Tafua said...

Oh my sweet Jenny, how much I love you. I'm honored to be able to claim you as my missionary trainer. How blessed I've been to have you as an example. Your e-mails keep getting returned. Care to send me another one?

Anonymous said...

I loved that analogy especially cause I love to quilt as well ;) I might have to steal that for a lesson sometime...