Saturday, May 21, 2016

In Life, Each Must Sew Her Own

She stands in her magnificent robe and takes up half the sky.  She is the Protectress, still and silent.  Loving.  Her arms spread like sturdy boughs enjoin you to come and shelter there under her mantle of shade and solace. 

You do not want to stand apart.

You seek her stillness, her silence, her strength.  Still, you try to give life to something inside of you, but you stare at your own brindled, late-blooming form and feel inadequate.  How am I to make the thing called me?  How am I to see who I am and clothe myself with grace and elan?

In his writings on faith, Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard says that the secret to life is that everyone must sew it for himself, the costume that one must wear in life. The coat in that old fairytale, the thread of which is spun with tears and bleached by tears, is sewn in tears, but the garment gives better protection than iron and steel.  The catch is, you have to sew it for yourself.

You were given the material: a life, which is your fabric, or perhaps you wove that cloth yourself from the many threads that were handed you, be they cotton, silk, poly or wool.  Not all fabrics are the same and what you start with is always reflected in the end, but it is up to you to work it.  Some fabrics are strong and suitable for making coats and work clothes, some for shells that are warm yet lightweight and travel well, some are best used for sportswear or tailored suits for business or for loose tops or crisp blouses or small underthings.  Some can hold a pleat while others find form more elegantly in soft, billowing gathers.  Some come to life in full skirts and party dresses.  Others are fit for a queen’s mantle, or the cloak of a protectress.

You can, of course, go against the grain.  However you work it, ultimately, it is up to you.  You decide how to make your own protection, your own comfort, your own confidence.  And then you work it, whether for yourself or to provide for others around you. 

Every seamstress knows that a good result does not always come to the one who labors for it.  In life, in the physical world, there are no guarantees a garment will turn out.  Making one might not even be possible.  But inside of you, the part you clothe with inner work, anything is possible.  Here, effort is always commensurate with result.  You simply need to make the movement toward it.  For that is faith, that movement, a practice of human power. 

You can create the Protectress inside of you.  You can find the mother and the father inside you and shape them into a coat that keeps you safe and warm and strong.


Cynthia Wylie said...

Fantastic post.I love the phrase: "...a good result does not always come to the one who labors for it." And I love the reference to having faith. Wonderful!

jwk kuri said...

Diana-Your site looks wonderful and I love the poster! The juxtaposition of sewing and philosophy is a new world opening up to me and I'm looking forward to sharing this with
likekind friends. Congratulations, Jennifer

Becky Wen said...

Man, I wish I could write...but I suck.