at the Chicago International Quilt Festival, one woman talking to another:

First woman, “I haven’t finished anything recently. Life got in the way.”

Second woman, “That’s the good news!”

Often I hear of “life” as an interruption to some other pursuit, like quilting, writing, or keeping up with television programs. It often connotes that something bad has happened, requiring our time, energy, and attention. It could be that a relative needs care, or we’ve been ill, or the college bills demand finding a second job.

But those aren’t interruptions, are they? Aren’t those the things we’re here for, taking care of others and ourselves? We are connected. Our relationships are (or should be) primary. That, of course, includes the relationship with ourselves. And the leisure pursuits are the luxury. To put it another way, the relationships are the sustenance. The hobbies are the dessert.

So the good news is that life gets in the way sometimes, that we have enough to sustain us that we can enjoy the treat when it’s available.


17 thoughts on “Overheard

  1. KerryCan

    I know you’e right, Melanie, and it’s good to have your words to remind me. I am so obsessed with being productive that I can forget that, really, life isn’t just about the making . . .

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Oh boy… it’s not all about that bass, it’s about the balance. Whether in our lives (life!) or in our making (weaving/stitching our colors and shapes and values,) we need to find the right mix. Thanks for the comment. xo

  2. Yanic A.

    Great post! Since I’ve become a stay-at-home mom, I’ve been surprised at how little time I’ve had to quilt, knit and craft. At first, I was a bit frustrated… but the more time moved on, the more I realized that was just me getting so amazingly absorbed into my “home-maker” newly-chosen career that I didn’t have time for my crafts. But what that means is so much more time with my kids, my husband, outside… none of those things could be considered an interruption I think!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      No, absolutely not an interruption. They are the focus right now, as long as you also take care of yourself. Sometimes that will mean taking the time for crafts, or even just “disappearing” for a day. When you come back, you will come back to life. 🙂

      1. Yanic A.

        Oh yes! My husband has been amazing at taking the kiddos out on the week-ends so I can get some time to sew… but sewing has meant clothes for them and stuff for the house. But still, machine time is sewing time and I’m grateful for all of it! 🙂

  3. allisonreidnem

    Yep! Even the mundane can become a blessing. Last year our 22 year old son got a new job over 200 miles away and had to move into a shared house. It was filthy! He sent me a text saying thank you for keeping our home clean and tidy (it’s not pristine by any means) and that was a good reminder to me that all those ‘unseen’ everyday jobs do have value!

  4. Jane

    I think John Lennon summed it up pretty well: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” It’s a shame that so many of us feel this way. But life is often full of mundane activities -running errands, cleaning the house, and most people I know consider their jobs part of this category. Having more leisure time for the things we enjoy doing would be wonderful, but it can be difficult to organize.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, I’ve figured out that life is moving things from one place to another. And most of it isn’t very interesting stuff. But we can appreciate even the mundane if we think about how it sets us up for the special. Thanks for reading.

      1. Jane

        Absolutely we can, but it’s a learned skill that requires a certain amount of self-awareness. I imagine that most people have the same cultural/educational problems with this that almost everyone I know does. As a child, were you repeatedly told to “just do” your chores, or “just eat” foods you didn’t like, for no better reason than because “I told you to”? By the age of two we already have an aversion to the mundane.
        I think you’ve hit on a very interesting topic.


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