these crazy, worthless pieces

Life is a quilt, sometimes, and food is a love language.

I have this friend who loves cookies like I love a metaphor.

My mom taught me to sew when I was eight years old and I still mostly hate it. It’s a skill set I believe is helpful and frequently even necessary, but I gotta say…it’s a good thing I don’t pick up a sewing project more than a few times a year. This world is a better, more whole place for it. So are my windows. So is my sewing machine.

Anyway, though, I really have always preferred quilting over other sewing projects and methods. Quilting usually involves straight lines and math – if you’ve taken Geometry, you’re golden. Trust me: geometry is loads easier than interfacing or bias tape or zippers or collar stays. Whatever those are. But even within quilting, there are some techniques that could make your head spin.

A crazy quilt, for example, uses a technique of piecing together scraps of fabric in a haphazard fashion. There’s no repeated motif like in traditional quilting. Forget the straight lines and geometry. The pieces are irregular. They don’t match. The prints are frequently just leftover scraps from old craft projects or worn-through pieces from well-loved garments. And it’s a big blob of mess unless it’s in the hands of a skilled quilter. Somehow, this good quilter knows how to bring beauty from the mess and the scraps.

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I have no idea who took this photo. sorry.

Crazy quilts sell for crazy amounts of money. Isn’t that something? Not only is it beautiful – these worthless scraps have been bound together and become something of great value.

I thought I could make a cookie out of that idea for my friend’s birthday, and maybe a blog post.

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Because, you know, sometimes in life we just have a big bunch of scraps in front of us. Worthless scraps. Devastating pieces. Soul-splitting fractures and heart-crushing fragments and bruises to fill all the spaces in between.

It’s easy to see all those frayed edges and worn out, ripped up, weary old pieces and think  –

How could any of this come together for good?

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This woman
came to Jesus with expensive perfume, and to anoint him she had to break the jar. And even his closest friends scoffed and criticized that broken mess and her waste of resources. They judged her. They judged her fragments of sacrifice – because she should’ve done better and they had some holier vision for what she could have done. They judged what she did and they judged her broken pieces.  And yet he called it beautiful. 

That beautiful thing required broken pieces.

The Greek word used for beautiful in that passage is kalos. It also is translated worthy. And honorable. And good. And noble.

That’s what Jesus saw in her pieces. Something valuable. Something worthy. Something crazy-beautiful.

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 We all have scraps and shards of mess. Maybe it’s our marriage, our parenting, our jobs, our finances, our habits, our addictions, our relationships. Life tailspins. We end up worn and ragged and at the end of the day have a mound of torn and tattered pieces.

Pour it on his head. Lay them at his feet. Let him bind up the mess. He can make something crazy-valuable out of it. He makes all things new. He does all things well. He’s a skilled craftsman and his work can be trusted.

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One thought on “these crazy, worthless pieces

  1. Loved this. “That beautiful thing required broken pieces.” Totally contrary to my pragmatic western mind, but so very true. Thank you.

    And now I need a cookie.

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