Click here for the complete poem)
I Sit and Sew
I sit and sew—my heart aches with desire—
That pageant terrible, that fiercely pouring fire
On wasted fields, and writhing grotesque things
You need me, Christ! It is no roseate dream
That beckons me—this pretty futile seam,
It stifles me—God, must I sit and sew?
Its not that I don't enjoy Greenwood, in fact I'm thrilled to be in the ESL field, its a life-long dream. But as I read this poem, I see Alice, the poet, sitting in her home, frustrated that she isn't involved in more than just the quiet things in life. I see a temptation in myself to do the same--to chafe instead of bloom.
Dear Alice, you think Christ needs you, but he doesn't, and you don't know how he values humble service. I've determined to live as his expendable crewman, and if that means to sew at something small, I'll trust that in his hands it will become an everlasting quilt, a masterpiece to be unveiled in heaven's economy. Goodness knows I've wanted and tried to be on the front lines where "writhing grotesque things/once men" wished for rescuing. I believe though, that the greatest front line is the one in my heart, where I fight pride and selfishness, and that goes with me wherever my address.
For a glimpse of her work, visit her blog).
I found another little piece in my web-hunt, with quite a different attitude toward sewing than Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, and I'll close with this quote from the fictional 'Aunt Jane of Kentucky' by Eliza Calvert Hall (Here's her book):
"I've been a hard worker all my life, but 'most all my work has been the kind that 'perishes with the usin',' as the Bible says. That's the discouragin' thing about a woman's work. If a woman was to see all the dishes that she had to wash before she died piled up before her in one pile, she'd lie down and die right then and there. I've always had the name o' bein' a good housekeeper, but when I'm dead and gone there ain't anybody goin' to think o' the floors I've swept, and the tables I've scrubbed, and the old clothes I've patched, and the stockin's I've darned, but when one of my grandchildren or great-grandchildren sees one o' these quilts, they'll think about Aunt Jane, and, wherever I am then, I'll know I ain't forgotten."
Here's to the small things in life, to living in Delaware, to sewing a quiet seam.