I am Renee Dargie.  I am a mother of three wonderful children and I am a military spouse.  I currently reside in Soignies, Belgium where I am trying to carve out a home in the Belgian countryside, this being my 20th move in 43 years.  I have lived and traveled around the world and so the concept of “home” is one that remains central to my writing, my life and my passions.  I love learning languages, sewing, writing, teaching, tutoring in our highschool and being with my family.

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trying-to-sewTrying to Sew

I have been trying to sew all day.  It shouldn’t be a difficult task for me, yet I cannot focus on this task or any other task today.  The paper and a black mechanical pencil find their way in front of me.  It is almost as if a magnet that lies in my chest has drawn these two articles to me and will not let them leave.  They remain here because the small voice inside me knows that I need to write.  Yet, I ignore this still and wise voice more often than I care to admit.  Today I will let the voice lead me onto the page.  Sophie, a character from a book that I have been working on for almost two years still stands in a garden of the Fujiya Hotel in post war Japan and remains there – with the wind blowing her brown curls and her eyes fixed on a man raking.  Before long, his eyes are fixed on her and he has something to tell her.

The story does not rage in me, it is quiet and friendly, but I can feel its intensity building.   I can feel the call to write, not only about Sophie, but about life, children, marriage, heroes, teenage girls, mending and time that slips away from us.

Scraps of ribbon, thread and pieces of calico and designer fabric sit in piles in front of my notebook.  These pieces wait patiently also.  They wait for hands to choose them, cut them, and sew them into something that is beautiful, artful and useful.  This is what women do.  It is what we have done for years and for generations.  We have been asked to shape and mold beautiful objects, hearts, souls and lives from whatever we are given.  We are asked to carve out homes in strange lands, help with Algebra and turn scraps into mouth watering meals and bits of by-gone fabric into glorious quilts that warm us through long winters.

And what about the times in our life when we are blessed with great abundance?  We continue to work, and create and mold and shape.  Even amidst great abundance and stocked cupboards and modern amenities our most fundamental and basic tasks will not change.  There will still be mending to attend to; we will still be called to pour out our love, our energy and our breath into that which comes before us in need.  And we will drain ourselves and we will need to replenish our own stores.  Daily, we need to find a way to fill ourselves again with the energy that allows us to mother, to serve, to work, to live, to cry, and to remain steadfast for those who depend on us.  We cannot ever let the well run dry.  We must find sustenance.  I believe that my own sustenance is going to come to me through the laying down of words onto the page, each day.  I can start with thirty minutes of daily pages and move into some other writing.  I have to do this because the dream is still alive inside my soul and it needs daily watering.

And it should not be such a great feat for me to sprinkle the page with life sustaining water – with words to build my dream.  Why do I resist this so much?  It is time to stop resisting and attend to my dreams.  Music is medicine for many, running is medicine for some, and the matching up of words in a row is mine.

The light is on over my sewing machine, the heater is bringing warmth into my retreat, into my sewing room.  I can be tiny right now.  Small steps, small blocks, paying attention to the words, paying attention to the fabric, the thread, the emerging shapes, the emerging quilt and the emerging stories that are inside me.  Now, just sew a few squares and press them.
Amen.

story by Renee Dargie, all rights reserved

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