When sorting through a box of my mother's quilt patterns, I found some newsletters from a quilting guild that she belonged to years ago. One had a story that should be shared. It is called "The Quilt of Life" by Doyle Loving. Parts are poignant and sad, but hope shines through on life's stage. It appears that he wrote this at a time when his wife was facing difficulty in life.
It's the oddest looking quilt you have ever seen, unfinished and worn, there are even some places where the blocks have been torn. The lack of design will make your eyebrows raise in surprise, and some of the colors used will assault your eyes. I will raise no excuse for the look of my quilt; much of it was constructed in pain and great guilt. I am the author of the blocks both the big and the small, and they reflect life lived both the short and the tall.
The block in the center is all yellow with age, and is where the quilt started, it's like the first page. The block seems so odd with the pink of new life, but quickly turns red with the skilled surgeons knife. It took me twelve years to finish this part; it's surrounded with the dark colors of a not so good start. The work of a child is the obvious conclusion, stitched together while shivering in fear and confusion.
The blocks surrounding the center are wild indeed, the color of anger and overwhelming need. There is the maroon block, for innocence lost, and the color of betrayal covers it all like a frost. The colors that are missing leap out from this section, where are the bright colors of education? The bright colors of childhood are yet to be seen, for the colors of work have a more ominous sheen.
I surveyed the quilt after sixteen years of labor, I wanted to stop quilting for life had no savor. It was there I met a companion that refused to depart, my nemesis depression moved into my heart. You see that black swatch that's biggest of all, it almost took over my quilt and predestined my fall.
In a flash of wonder the colors turn brighter! I met the light of my life and she made me a fighter. She told me although our quilts had no brightness so far, if we quilted together our quilt would be bright as the stars. So we both joined our quilts with a very strong thread, and vowed that our future would be filled with laughter in steed. Our quilt became one and it was almost all dark, most everyone though our future as quilters was stark. But the thread that joined our quilts was strong and bright and the most beautiful quilt was begun on that night.
Now our quilt has yellows and blues, look there are our children's blocks with their wonderful hues. The pinks are surrounded by bright colors all round, and dark colors on their blocks are not to be found.
We started to sash the quilt when we met, the bright red of commitment now looks like a net. There were many colors we didn't even know existed, we stitched those in and the dark we resisted. Oh there are a few spots on our quilt that are dark, but the colors around them make them look no so stark. And as for our kids, they have quilt of their own, and the center of their quilts have a much brighter tone. Our quilt has grown large, making the center look smaller, and quilting together makes our blocks a lot taller.
Each block tells its story of sunshine and rain, and somehow the laughter has taken over the pain. The quilt is so odd with its color and design, it is the quilt of our life and the story of our time. The quilt keeps us warm when the storms outside rage, and keep us reminded of the plays on life's stage. We wouldn't trade our quilt, though many others are so nice, our quilt has come to us at a very high price. It is dark in the middle and still unfinished, but our love for the quilters is still undiminished.
If your quilt has some dark, and I know all quilts do, then let me express this hope for you. May the bright colors of life overtake your quilt, and may not a block you sew be done with guilt. May it keep you warm when the rain should appear, and give you direction when toward the good times you steer. These quilts we all sew some with dark, some with bright, and they keep us warm when we just don't want to fight. So fight on, my dear wife, and remember this too: nobody can make a quilt like you!
~ If you were to write a story about the quilt of your life, what would it look like?