It’s day number three without restful sleep and I am tired. Let’s add to it that some of the work that must be completed today is tedious. Very tedious. I been given several garments to alter. Many days I delightfully approach my work as a seamstress with fresh, new fabric stretched out just waiting to be transformed into something beautiful. Creativity flows and I am in control of exactly how the garment will turn out. Not so much with alterations. (You would be surprised at the mess that can be hidden in the construction of some clothing.) I must take something that someone else has created, rip it apart, re-cut or reshape, and then piece it back together so that it will fit properly and hopefully look as if it was originally made that way, not repaired.
I’m off to a slow start as you may have guessed since I am sitting at the computer rather than the sewing machine. I am taking this break after only minutes of work because I am already frustrated. First, there is the chain stitching that should be a simple “pull the thread and the entire seam will be undone” which is not cooperating. This leaves me literally ripping the seam one very small stitch after another. I finally get the triple, yes TRIPLE, chain-stitched seam undone only to discover that the fabric within the double-folded, triple-stitched seam has also been glued. Great. The pulling apart of the two pieces of glued fabric isn’t going smoothly either. I’ve hit several places where the glue absolutely refuses to let go and there is no way to part the two pieces of fabric without ripping or cutting both pieces. It’s going to be a long day so before I ruin what I am trying to make beautiful, I needed to step back, take a breather, and renew my mind about what must be done.
I realized that my frustration stemmed from not only the stubborn seams and fatigue, but also the nagging concerns about a certain relationship that is difficult. We often foolishly think that just because something new is born, whether it is very literally a new baby or the birth of a new relationship, that we are in easy control of how it will all turn out. We have high hopes and grand dreams, believing that love is enough to make it work. And love most certainly must be the foundation to ensure the relationship will not be destroyed. But love without action isn’t real love at all and the business of relationships can at times be very challenging, frustrating, and tedious work. There is often the ripping away of wrong attitudes and the cutting away of bad habits. The undoing of harsh words requires humility and a lot of time. Exposing what is underneath may reveal a big mess. We can choose to leave the mess alone and hidden from those who only see the surface and the relationship will remain ill-fitted and uncomfortable. We can pretend the mess doesn’t really matter as long as things look good on the outside, imagining no one will notice that it doesn’t fit right. Or we can give it the proper time and effort combined with a willingness to persevere through the frustrations that will arise in this often slow process, so the pieces can be re-cut, reshaped and put back together, fitted rightly. And from time-to-time, we just need to step back, take a breather, and renew our minds about what we are really fighting for – something different that what we have, something worth all the trouble, something made more beautiful.
My heart aches for those I know and love who are struggling in difficult relationships. So as I return to the tedious work before me and the other things to be done, I will pray for them as I rip stitches and take care of business. I will ask that God help them endure the ripping and tearing and cutting that still must be done to get that right fit. Altered at the altar and restored to better than before, remembering…
…all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself – received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself – and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation… 2 Corinthians 5:18
“Alterations” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com