I have a book called Zen and the Art of Quilting. Someone bought it for me as a joke, but it's true that when you're creating a quilt something funny happens to your brain and you enter a trace-like state in which deep and philosophical ideas come to you.
I was thinking about this scrap quilt I'm making. The components are scraps (hence the name). Tiny pieces of fabric, some only an inch square, left over from other projects. These were the pieces that weren't wanted. The bits left over. And I'm taking them and turning them into a new quilt. I'm making something beautiful and functional and meaningful (I intend to give the quilt as a gift when it's finished) out of rubbish that should have gone in the bin.
It's frugal. It's recycling. It's good for the planet. But that's not what struck me.
What struck me was the idea that this rubbish has become elevated into something very precious indeed. I identified with these little odd-shaped pieces of fabric. I wondered if they felt happy to have been saved from the rubbish bin. If they felt proud to become part of a beautiful gift, something that will (I hope) be cherished and used for many years. Were they sad when they were rejected from the other quilts, when neigbouring bits of fabric were used but they were tossed on the floor? Do they feel grateful to have been redeemed?
See what I mean about "something funny happens to your brain when you're sewing"?
When I identified with the scraps in this way, I mused about my own life. About the times when I felt like a failure, when I felt rejected. But after these experiences came other times when I succeeded and was honoured. And I thought about the passage in the Bible that says "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone". Maybe there's no such thing as a failure, and there's always another chance to be a success. Maybe there's no such thing as a scrap, only fabric for another quilt. Maybe there's no such thing as rubbish, only material for a different use.