Quilt Imperfections

The other day I was making up the guest room in preparation for a friend’s visit. As I spread a quilt over the mattress and smoothed out a wrinkle, my fingers lingered over a seam. This quilt is one of several I received when my husband’s father passed away. He and his wife lived in northern Ohio, an area that has deep Anabaptist roots. They were devout members of the Church of the Brethren, which shares a history with the Amish and Mennonite traditions.

My in laws were plain people – not Plain, but like their Amish neighbors they lived hard-working, no-frills lives as farmers. My mother-in-law made these quilts decades ago with her church quilting circle. They’re beautifully bright and colorful, and the stitches are small and even. But not perfect. Every now and then one stitch will be longer than the others, or will point slightly toward one edge instead of lining up in a machine-like line. Those tiny imperfections somehow add to the beauty of the design, and remind me of the human hands that created them. They make me appreciate the quilters’ efforts even more. Just looking at them makes me smile, and I find myself hoping the quilt will bring happiness and comfort to my friend when she snuggles beneath it while visiting my house.

Now, personally, I don’t quilt. I have a feeling I would be lousy at it. My creative gifts tend to find expression in words, not crafts. But when I look at these quilts, admire their beauty, and run my fingers over the stitches, I confess that I have a desire to give it a try. None of us are perfect, are we? And yet, we’re all beautiful creations that God has pieced together. Like my quilts, perhaps even our imperfections can be testimonies of our efforts to become something bright and beautiful that God will use to bring happiness to others.