When I had the privilege of hearing Bill Kerr from Modern Quilt Studio speak last year, someone asked the question, “What makes a quilt modern?”
Bill’s answer has stayed with me ever since. He replied, “It reflects the time we live in.”
I thought a lot about that lately, and it came to mind again as I worked on my latest quilt.
An extended family member is suffering from a heroin addiction. He’s 23 years old. (Close family).
Unless you live under a rock, or unless you have your head buried in the sand, you know that this country is in a crisis.
- Addiction is the number one killer of those under 50 years old in America.
- This is the worst overdose epidemic in our country’s history–mostly heroin and fentanyl.
- In 2015, more people died from drug overdoses than from gun homicides and car accidents COMBINED. And that number has exponentially risen since then. (nytimes).
I don’t want to go into the heartbreak that opioid addiction brings into a family, or the destruction, or the loss of trust and money and emotional fortitude. No, those are just side shows to the vice-like grip of tragedy and despair that accompany a person with an addiction.
He told his mom that the world is grey, and only appears in color when he is on the drug. All of this is likely a symptom of underlying depression, but reaching it is difficult through the fog of substance abuse disorder.
Awhile ago, I began working on an improv quilt. It was basically chaos, and felt like 2017 to me. Layer on top of that the never-ending chorus of my family member’s opioid treatments, shaky and hesitant recoveries, disappearances, and temporary relapses, and “chaos” becomes the perfect description.
But hope lives.
And I found myself creating a quilt for him, made of this crazy, chaotic improvisational fabric. It was interspersed with grey, reflecting the many times he has been through rehab.
But the main message of this quilt is one of hope…for my family member and for all those suffering from this disorder. This cheapest of all street drugs will not get the last word. The rest of us surround him with belief that this can be overcome, knowing full well the difficulty.
Next, I took the improv fabric and positioned it under some of the grey to see if it was going to work. I love that the sun was pouring in as I worked.
I’ll be using the serger to piece the back in a beautiful blue sky ombre with splashes of color.
It’s the goal…a blue sky goal and a life of color, on the other side of the grey.
In the big picture, the grey and the colors of anyone’s world mix and mingle back and forth. The world is not always in glorious color for any of us. Sometimes it is the grey that provides the relief in order for us to carry on.
In the meantime…
…hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (romans 8:24-25)