Suffering, Sewing, Sentiment: Notes from a Week1
September 13, 2014 by lucieromarin
I wanted to tell you the story of how my hair fell out and then grew back. Then I realised that to tell that story, I’d need to describe the three anniversaries before me – three separate first anniversaries of three separate great losses. Then I realised that I could not tell stories of any of these losses, because to do so would mean sharing the experiences of other people, who, pretty reasonably, do not wish to be the topic of my blog post.
I had this train of thought as I walked to my chapel, seeing white blossoms and black branches stand out against the grey sky, as sharp as the air was sharp. I looked at those branches as I rounded a corner, and understood that this blogging conundrum was the real proof that we’re not always as alone in our suffering as we feel. Granted, that other people share a loss doesn’t necessarily alleviate your own share of it; even so… somehow, it does help to know that you’re bound to other people, even by an invisible and indescribable thread.
What is it about the arrival of Spring that makes one want to chop up all the bed-linen and turn it into other things?
Oh, wait…is that just me?
Well, I chopped up an old quilt cover this week, and turned it into a little tablecloth. I launched into the project choleric-style, which means with no planning, research, or preparation, without the necessary equipment and certainly without the necessary skills. The end result of my project is full of mistakes and doesn’t suit my flat at all, but who cares? It was great fun.
It’s all very well to say to those of us who lament the loss of the practical skills of the past, “Yes, but the pioneering woman probably couldn’t touch type or drive a car,” but the only reason she couldn’t do those things was because they hadn’t been invented yet. Sewing, however, has been invented, and the reason I can’t sew is because I haven’t learned how to. I think it’s fine to choose to delegate a skill (I’m capable of baking bread, but mostly choose not to) or to exercise it selectively alongside newer skills (sometimes I handwrite and mostly I type), but I don’t see any point in rejoicing over never acquiring the skill in the first place, especially when not acquiring the skill means I can’t alter or preserve my own clothing even if I want to (and can never have a blog featuring my awesome sewing skills!)
Alas! It’s not only the modernists who write terrible hymns. Earlier this week, in a book of meditations on the Blessed Sacrament, I found a reference to Our Lady: “…made with the pure flour of her flesh and kneaded with her virginal milk.”
This is gross. Then, in a little hymnal, I saw what was presumably an attempt to describe her participation in the sufferings of Calvary: “…and the bleeding thoughts of Mary.”
This is really gross. Devout people! Don’t write things like this!
(Slight hiatus, while I check Youtube.)
Oh, my goodness. I was going to conclude by saying “Write things like this,” and add a recording of ‘Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,’ – but they’re all terrible! Seriously, why would anyone add plinky-plunky effects to the world’s greatest hymn?? Or sing it like a pop song?
Gah! I’m going to crawl away in shock and look at my funny new tablecloth.
Happy Feast Day for Sunday! (Exaltation of the Holy Cross.)