Monday, March 15, 2010

Quilted

I mentioned before that I’m learning to do patchwork quilting. I’m enjoying the adventure. I’m also seeing such a metaphor in patchwork quilts about people. One of the first things I was taught is that when picking out the materials to be used in a patchwork quilt the most important thing is contrast. You need dark materials and light materials. You need various patterns. If every square were exactly the same, the quilt wouldn’t be very interesting. It is the contrast between the patterns and colors and intensity that make a patchwork quilt beautiful.

The same is true of people. The strength that comes as we gather in congregations or families is brought about by contrast not sameness. If we all had the same opinions or experiences or thought processes there would be no synergy. But because we are all different, when we come together we each add something to the whole—we make it better and more interesting.

As I looked around at all the people in my congregation at Church yesterday I was struck by how much each one of those people gives to me by enhancing the “pattern” the group makes. I saw quiet people who never say a word but add their warmth. Vocal people who speak up every few minutes during a lesson because they need to be heard. Thoughtful people who add intelligent information. Heartful people who bring love and emotion. Consistent people who bring courage and stability. Joyful people who enliven. Hurting people who take their turn at being the one who, for the time being, needs to draw on other’s strengths and thereby allows others to serve and grow. Every person in that congregation adds something to the pattern whether they realize it or not and without their piece, the pattern would be incomplete—would not be a beautiful.

When we back up and see ourselves as a piece of a bigger pattern, we gain a whole new perspective on life. We realize that instead of simply making ourselves look good, part of the task of life is to make the whole quilt look good. We give what we have to the whole and let the Lord, the Master Quilter, determine how that whole is put together.

7 comments:

Martha said...

I love this Sherrie. I've been seeing the same things about the variety of people and the strength of the whole, but instead of a quilt for my parallel, I've been learning this as I have thought about why the Lord wants each ward to have a choir (I'm the choir director right now). I used to think that it was just so we'd have music to bring the spirit to the meeting. Now I see so much more! It's a pattern for how to become ONE. How to become Zion.

6L's said...

i LOVE this! thanks for sharing. :)

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said and so true. Thanks
Cathie

Karen said...

What a beautiful lesson!

I have been meaning to tell you that I have your book Gospel Insights...at the office. I have been trying to share the gospel with my job-share partner for quite some time. I left your book there thinking she might pick it up, but had not heard her say anything about it. Sterling let me know recently that Linda, our office person, had been reading it! And she has made comments to Sterling about it. So I left it at the office, slightly pulled out from the other books so as to be noticed :) Thanks for writing it!

Wendi said...

Oh wow! This is an amazingly profound and very well-written post, Sherrie. Thank you for sharing it. Very often, I wish that I was so much more than I am. But this makes me thankful for my small contribution--whatever it may be at any given time. I think the pattern is ever-changing. Thanks for your wonderful contribution to blogland. You are an inspiration to me. :)

Laresa said...

This reminds me of my favorite quote my Mother Teresa "In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Dani, I meant it to sound a little negative because I think sometimes we do accuse people of being negative, but as you point out we learn from them--so why put a negative stamp on them? We need those people even if their motive is to be heard. What I'm trying to say is that no matter what a person's motivation for doing something, they need us and we need them. So we need to be patient and not put others down because they participate too much or too little or whatever. We need each other!!!