Thursday, November 7, 2013

To Tend, and Mend and Fix

In today's throw away society, mending is slowly becoming a lost art.  I come from a long line of menders.  The women in my family are keepers.  We hold on to things and use them until they can not be saved.  Why buy new when it can be fixed?  Spending money on something that with a little effort and love can be made whole again is an art form in and of itself.  If you can master it, even the pickiest of people will never know your needle has been there.

Today I am mending the quilted bedspread on my bed before washing it.  It's not a treasured antique nor one that is hand made.  More than likely it was made in China and came from JC Penny a few years ago.  You see, I wouldn't put one of my hand made quilts on my bed for my dog to lay on at night but because he does, it gets washed - a lot.  So the patches are coming loose.  I have spent several hours today hand stitching the patches back together before it gets washed again for probably the 100th time.  But I realized as I bent over my work, that hand stitching brings me back to center within myself.  I'd like to think my Grandmothers are grinning from ear to ear watching me stitch the tiny stitches that not only hold the fabric patches together but also stitch myself back into balance with the present moment.

I have a lovely lace tablecloth that my Nana gave me before she died.  It is one of my treasures - one of those gifts that she said she had saved for me because she knew that none of my cousins would ever want or use it.  It's about 90 years old now and occasionally need a mending stitch here and there.  The first time I held it up to the light as I prepared to attempt those tiny stitches, I could see all of the tiny invisible mends that she had lovingly placed in the lace over the years that I never knew were there.  I spread it out on my work table and very carefully matched the tiny invisible stitches that mended the lace and felt such a connection to her.

I have come to the realization that I have become one of the menders - the fixers.  Perhaps its a genetic memory as the generations of fixers sit up and take notice as the stitches form after my needle.  What ever it is, the energy fills me with immense calm and great satisfaction.  It's not just about mending bits of fabric.  It's about mending the pieces of myself - making them into something stronger and more resilient as I retrieve the pieces that I had somehow set aside.  It's easy to do without realizing it.  I got caught up in survival mode and forgot how much joy could be found in the simple tasks - the ones that no one sees, that in truth, hold everything together.

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