Merry Christmas 2021

There’s a great line that’s been rattling around in my head lately: “You know, I believe we have two lives. The life we learn with and the life we live with after that.” It’s from a scene in The Natural, a movie which — on the surface — is about baseball.

Richard Rohr acknowledges those two parts of our lives: the first part is learning all the rules, figuring out how to pay attention, learn to earn a living, climbing the ladder of success. Of necessity, it’s oriented to self, getting those tasks of our young lives checked off the lists. I could make this into a quilt analogy, but not today.

But Rohr argues that it’s necessary to learn the rules — not in order to break them — but to move on from them and into the better part of life: opening your heart, taking care of others, trying to meet the needs of those around you, finding out what’s truly important. I’ve been thinking about this not only because of the pandemic for the last 22 months, and how all the rules were suddenly up-ended, but also because of the joy and peace I feel during the Christmas season.

These past months we have had more new rules to learn: social distancing, masks, carrying hand sanitizer wherever we go. We wear our masks to care for each other; we keep our distance to care for ourselves. We work hard to keep sympathies for those too frightened or too confident to get vaccinated. We weary ourselves with the juggling.

The second part of life then is about seeing bigger, from an expanded viewpoint, moving away from self and not seeing things are we are, but as the world is, and navigating that. He reminds us that “life is characterized much more by exception and disorder than by total or perfect order. Life is both loss and renewal, death and resurrection, chaos and healing at the same time; life seems to be a collision of opposites.” The challenge, then, is to make peace with all our opposites and our chaos, and focus in on renewal and healing. (And, of course, quilting.)

At Christmas time, it feels a bit easier, with carols playing and with children and the Christ child at the center. In this pocket of time, we can step all the way back from the rigid and chaotic and disordered life, light our candles and carol our way to peace.

Merry Christmas to you all!

17 thoughts on “Merry Christmas 2021

  1. Elizabeth,
    Thank you for another great year of special thoughts and quilt pattern surprises. I always look forward to opening my mail and finding a letter from across the miles.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours. Wishing you a Happy New Year and all the possibilities that await us.

  2. Warm holiday greetings to you from Colorado! Thank you so much for sharing your talent, skillls, and thoughts with us. It is such a pleasure to read about your life and all the happenings in it! Best wishes to you and yours this season and for a bright New Year!

  3. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours, Elizabeth! Thank you for the joy you bring to so many with your thoughtful observations, beautiful work and friendship. Blessings be on you and those you love in 2022.

  4. Dear Elizabeth,
    Thank you for another year of beautiful quilts, links to other artists (did I learn about August Kleon from you?), and much food for thought.
    Wishing you, Dave and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  5. What a coincidence! I’m enjoying reading Falling Upward right now. 🙂 It forces me to be thoughtful during this busy time of year. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights here on your blog. I love reading not only because of your beautiful quilts but because you make me think about other things. Merry Christmas Elizabeth. God Bless!!!

  7. So beautifully expressed Elizabeth! Robe’s words echoed the words at this morning’s Christmas Day sermon. Definitely tear inducing….Blessings to you, Dave, the ultimate quilt holder, and all your family. With eternal optimism that 2022 WILL be better. Susan

  8. Beautiful Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing and inspiring so much. It is a gift to us and YOU are a gift to us. Merry Christmas❣️

  9. Merry Christmas. I so enjoy your posts. Your work is absolutely beautiful. I love your colors. The Christmas Tree in this post is beautiful. Is it your pattern? Is the pattern for sale?

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