Friday, March 6, 2015

A Patchwork Heart

I spent my teen years growing up in the Mennonite church. Every fall, we would go to Goshen, Indiana for this quilt festival. These women worked so hard on these amazing quilts which they put up for auction to help with the Mennonite missionary support. I remember walking through the display areas and looking in awe at this incredible pieces of art.
My favorites were the ones where no piece was the same size or the same color. The pieces didn't necessarily match, but they were no less beautiful than the ones with precise designs. In fact, I often would look at the "non-conforming" ones and think that they were so much more beautiful. For me, each piece of fabric told a tale. Someone had a baby and that material was left over from their first outfit. Another piece may have come from an old apron. Another from a suit some young man had outgrown. You see what I mean? The story is the best part for me.
The other day I came across a quote that talked about how when you love someone/something, you give them your whole heart. When they return it to you, they keep a piece of your heart. They, in turn, give you a piece of theirs. This exquisite image came into my mind of a patchwork heart. Each piece stitched together with memories, pain, love, suffering, and sorrow, but each mark is unique.
This made me begin to take a look at my own heart. In my mind, it is made up of flannel (my Poppa), some lace and buttons (my mom), an old Army uniform (my dad), a polka-dotted shirt (my Grandma), bits of fur (for my furkids), and these are pieced together with little bits of fabric from those who have brushed across my life. Whether I have loved you for a minute or a lifetime, you have taken a piece of my heart. To a few, I have given it willingly. To others, you took it when I least expected it. But I can't get it back. If I have given you my whole heart, I've gotten it back a bit torn, tattered, bruised and broken, but I'm sure your heart was returned to you the same way. But there is always a piece missing that has been replaced with a piece of yours. I'm beginning to wonder if there is any original fabric left on this heart of mine. I've had to stitch up the pieces as I've gone through life and I'm sure I'll have to repair it more as I go.

What is beautiful to me is that when I look at my heart, I know I have been loved by many in this lifetime. Each piece is unique and special, just like me. If I hadn't been loved by the souls I have been loved by, my heart would look vastly different than it does now. And the thought of that makes me sad because I think my patchwork heart is beautiful. It is made of love. It has known heartache, loss, heartbreak, hardships, love, trust, happiness, joy, and has been loved in return.

So tell you have a patchwork heart?

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