“Stories, we all have stories.
Nature does not tell stories, we do.
We find ourselves in them, make ourselves in them, choose ourselves in them.
If we are the stories we tell ourselves, we better choose them well.”
James Orbinski, M.D.
Over the Christmas holiday I visited with my dad in Niagara Falls. I noticed that he had pulled out a quilt to use for extra warmth now that the colder weather is here. This quilt was hand made by my Grandma Buffam many years ago. I remember when it arrived in the mail – I remember when so many packages arrived in the mail from Grandma – usually quilts, or dresses – matching for us girls – sewn with loving care.
This particular quilt was made up of the scraps of material that my mom had sent to her – leftovers from the many dresses mom had made for us and for herself. Back in those days everything was sewn – very little bought ready made. In fact I have many memories of new Easter dresses every year, and Christmas dresses. I have memories of learning to use the sewing machine to make our own clothes – mom just let us experiment and have fun. I started out by making clothes for my Barbie dolls – actually they were Tammy dolls – the Barbie-like dolls whose hair you could pull out of a strategically placed hole in the head giving you the ability to create a beautiful hairstyle -either long or short. I thought this was so very “cool” – I could twist the hair into a pony tail or a beehive – yes – those were the days.
But I digress – back to the quilt.
As I looked at the quilt on the bed, I recognized material from dresses that my mom had and I remembered what she looked like in those dresses, and where she wore them. So many memories came back – all from the quilt on the bed. The quilt told a story – a story about history and a story about our lives. The threads that were all woven together represented so many years of living in different homes and different cities.
Our lives do tell a story – in fact we are creating a new chapter of that story every day. We create it by the choices we make and the direction we choose at every cross road.
Our story also includes many chapters where we don’t have a choice – where the story line takes a turn that is out of our control. Sometimes life hands us circumstances that are not expected, anticipated and perhaps not appreciated. Life can be very tough in these chapters but I can tell you that even in the difficult chapters – the thread of the story’s outcome is dependent on how we choose to react to those circumstances.We can choose hope over bitterness, joy over despair, and love over anger.
Even now, I can look back at the chapters of my life, the chapters of my parent’s lives and see how the thread of history has created and continues to create a story rich and full – not perfect – but perfectly imperfect – with a purpose and plan.
And I can also see how the very different aspects of these chapters when sewn together in a mixture of patterns and textures and colours, has created a beautiful life – just as these quilts are beautiful – perfectly imperfect.
And so each new day is a new chapter – a new part of the story – the happy joyful days and the very tough days all make the story fit together in a quilt that one day will be the story of our lives. The fabrics used will be the perfect balance of bright and cheerful and deep and strong – all making the story not only interesting, but a work of art. Because you see our life is just that – a work of art – a creation that is perfectly imperfect with a story that has impact and purpose and when the tale is told – my hope is that the story will be full of lessons learned, wisdom gained and insights shared and an example left behind. And most of all I hope the story will be one that glorifies the creator who works to make the story meaningful and beautiful.