community, family life

Coming apart at the seams

“Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon.” St. Francis of Assisi  

The first time I saw an article of clothing rise from the dead, I was a college student. It was a biking sweater owned by my roommate’s European boyfriend. “I know you can fix it,” he pleaded in heavily accented English, holding the sweater out to me and mentioning a purchase price that was insane. “You are expert with the needle.”

That combination of flattery and odd sentence construction somehow worked for him. Despite the fact that I would have tossed the sweater in the garbage had it been mine, I hauled out my embroidery kit, sat down on the floor and began patching and reweaving the three-inch hole he had ripped in one elbow.

Amazingly, it worked. When I was done, the hole was nearly invisible. He was happy. He threw on the sweater and set off, no doubt on another bike trek. I was hooked. I packed up my supplies with a sense of wonder. I wasn’t really an expert with the needle. But, mending was pure magic.

Having grown greener (and possibly quirkier) with the years, my passion for sartorial resurrection has only increased. Tiny daughters rip out the knees in their jeans? Funky heart patches fixed that many a time. Husband has a run in with the garage door? An internal patch and some surface reweaving can fix that. Sweater attacked by moths? Embroidered butterflies to the rescue.

My family actually likes this kind of stuff — surprising with teens. So, there is always a small stack of clothes on my mending pile. I worked to the bottom of it just last night, when rain forced us back inside after a glorious weekend.

Fixing item after item, I couldn’t help but wish the desire to repair, to restore would go viral. I’m not talking about just clothing. No matter how clever the fix, it will eventually wear out. I’m talking about our marriages, our ties to children, our nation. The priceless, irreplaceable things that tend to fall apart at the seams if we’re not careful.

When something’s torn, it’s tempting to throw it away in disgust. “It will never look right again. There will always be that disgusting hole,” we might think, forgetting there is a God whose very specialty is restoration.

It’s time to haul out His spiritual mending kit. Repentance and forgiveness are in there. Love is in there. Mercy is in there. Glory is in there. With these kinds of tools at our disposal, it’s hard to imagine what could happen in our world — both our small worlds and the biggest of them all. It might be more than magic. It could be miraculous.





3 thoughts on “Coming apart at the seams”

  1. My mother was a top-notch seamstress but hated to mend clothing. I, on the other hand, cannot brag about my sewing skills but I feel a nice sense of accomplishment when I mend things. Our world does need some mending! Thanks for the reminder.


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