Monday, May 9, 2011

we are the makers

I once wrote a post about identity. Who I am in singular words. Words like goer and picker and vanilla and snoozer. Yesterday it struck me, again, that I am a maker.

There's something to say about a soul bruise. Something to say about it, even though the words have lately failed me. It feels like they are stuck inside a hose, building up but not powerful enough to push through the blockage. The bruise continues to heal as I leave it open to the air, as I give it light and space and time. I am wary of pushing the tender area too far, too quick.

And then there's the studio. A haven from the word drought. A place where I feel useful, where I feel competent, where I feel free. These days I dream of patterns and color. When I wake in the 2am darkness, I imagine skirts and dresses I'm going to make. I draw plans in my mind's eye for Alice's summer wardrobe. And even when Chip reminds me of her full closet, how she doesn't need another pair of summer shorts, I smile and tell him, "She may not need them, but I do."

Because I'm a maker. While I can't change the tilt of the planet or take another's pain, what I can do, is make. Use my hands. Craft fabric or fiber or paper or food into something else, into something to love. I can make. I can offer comfort through my efforts. I can clothe and decorate and beautify and succor. I can make. I can express these feelings and desires that seem trapped here inside. I can make. I can do. I can be busy with thread while my mind untangles itself. I can make.

So I do.

A very dear friend of mine is suffering. Grieving and worried for her brother, who is struggling through advanced cancer. I talked to her yesterday at church. It was the first time I'd seen her since she told me the news, since she'd stumbled through explaining the vast abyss of pain she is navigating. We stood there in a crowded hallway as Alice pulled hard on my hand, urging me forward even as I pulled back, even as I reached forward to hug my friend. In those moments, there are no words than the small few we've heard a thousand times; sorry being the main one, I'm so sorry. She stood there against the wall with people pushing past us in a rushing hurry. She blinked tears and then said, "I'm making him a quilt."

Because my dear friend, too, is a maker. And this is what we makers do. We make.

When I heard her say those words, "I'm making him a quilt", I knew she'd be okay, she will pull through. Because making isn't really about the things we make or even about the people we make them for. It's an act of creation in the face of loss, nothing short of an expression of hope, the transformation of one thing into another. We refuse to let raw materials defeat us. We take what we're given and we make it into something better. We spin gold from the straw, our faces reflecting the luster. We make. And we shine.

(Yes, I made this. Reversible orange playday smock and dark rinsed summer shortie pants with sailor stripes around the cuffs.)

1 comment:

Alicia said...

This explains a lot of things. I'm not a maker. There's nothing wrong with me; I'm just not a maker. It makes sense. I've never heard it explained quite like this, so well and so beautifully. Per usual. Maker.

Anneke had those shoes, last year I think. Target, I think.