It's easy to find joy in the first stages of projects. The dreaming, the planning, the making of lists and setting of goals; everything is possible in the future tense. I fill journals with plans for our family, and notebooks with sketches of things to make -- and whether or not they actually come to life, there is something good and wholly meaningful just in the dreaming.
It's just as easy to find joy in completion. Crossing things off lists is, at once, a happy record of something accomplished, and a sigh of relief. The (brief) stage of rest before something else begins. Transatlantic trip -- check. A whole night of sleep -- check. Quilts finished. Books read.
It's the middle bit I struggle with. The doing. The process. The daily. And so, in focusing on joy this year, I am really looking hard at the 95% of life that happens between things beginning and things getting done.
These complex little economy blocks -- a square in a square in a square -- are teaching me something about enjoying the process.
They are slow to make; eight trips through the sewing machine each, with ironing and trimming (and often, seam-ripping and re-doing) in between.
Slowing down like this helps to take my attention off finishing the quilt, and focus instead on the joy that comes simply from putting one fabric next to another. And these fabrics -- these hand-screenprinted fabrics that I've been storing up for a year, waiting to feel "good enough" to sew with them -- are pure joy in and of themselves. They deserve a slow-to-make block. They deserve to be handled eight times, and built up gradually.
And I'm reminded, of course, to treat the rest of my life the same way.
I might enjoy dreaming of all sorts of values and behaviours for myself and my marriage and my children -- but before we get there, before I can tick those things off, there is joy to be found in the process. In the daily. And surely we all deserve the care of being run through the machine eight times, or fifty times, or endless times, on our journey.