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Our Spiritual Quilts

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Come and Follow Me by Dominique Ehrmann

"How long have you been working on this?"

That's the question I asked the artist, Dominique Ehrmann, when I realized that she was the mastermind behind the magnificent piece of art in front of me.

"Well there are two answers to that question. It took me about 1,000 hours to complete this piece. But it really took my entire life."

She went on to explain that she and her husband live in the woods and like to take walks together after work. The animals in her quilts were inspired by the animals she sees on those walks. The scene is absolutely beautiful; a little girl walking up to a home hidden in the trees. What is truly amazing is the presentation where the scene is composed of four quilts that build one on top of the other.

There is a base layer that features the house and sky. From there, each layer adds a little more to the scenetrees, animals, a clothesline with sparkling quilts; such intricate details that seem so minimal and yet when added together make the final product a truly wonderful piece.

As I examined the piece a bit more, I was amazed that the artist was ever able to finish it. I can only imagine the number of things that could go wrong with something that takes that long to construct. I imagined the number of times she must have had to rip out stitches. Then what about the colors that didn't blend as well as she thought they would? I can picture the late nights and early mornings that were spent laboring over that quilt. I'm sure there were moments when she wanted to give up; when it just seemed like so much work that it wasn't even worth going on. I'm sure there were other times when it brought her so much joy and energy that she found herself so engulfed in the project that she'd glance up from working and realize five hours had passed. And even when it was finished, there is still the maintenance between shows to make sure it doesn't tear or fade or even worse, become forgotten in a box in someone's basement.

I remembered her words again, "But really, it really took my entire life."

As I stared at her quilt and thought of that phrase, I thought about my own spiritual life. I thought about the times I thought I had it all figured out only to discover the God I thought I had all figured out was much bigger. I thought about the times when things were hard and I was mad at Godthe times when I couldn't understand God's role in my life and wanted things to be easier. I thought about the times when things made sense. When it seemed that everywhere I looked I saw the finger prints of God.

Our spiritual lives are like quilts, don't you think? We might work on them rather intensely for bouts of time, but really, they take our entire lives to create. Whether we knew it or not, God was always with us to help us with our quilts from the day we were born. The day we finally decide to sit down with a needle and thread to begin the actual quilt is not the beginning. God was with us before. When we get frustrated because we've come to a difficult part of the quilt, God is there to help us through. When we are excited and full of joy because we find ourselves working in a brightly colored section of our quilt, God is celebrating with us.

Our spiritual quilts are never finished. We work on them our entire lives. And when we are gone our quilts are what others remember us by. I hope that my quilt is a blessing to others. I hope that people can see the joy that my quilt brought me and it will inspire them to find that same joy. I hope people will be able to see that there were some challenging sections in my quilt but I persevered. Most importantly, I want them to see my quilt as something that mattered to me. It wasn't something that was a side project that I tinkered with in my free time. My spiritual quilt is my most prized possession.

What about you? What is the status of your spiritual quilt?

-Susan Ward

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