“Stitches” by Anne Lamott

18079659“Stitches:  A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair” is a wonderful little book that I have been reading and digesting for a while now.  I didn’t want to read too much of it at once – there are so many wonderful thoughts that I like to take time to savor them.

In “Stitches,” Anne Lamott asks the question, “How can we find hope and healing in brokenness?”  The answer, as expected, is complex and simple at the same time.  We find hope and healing in the stitches we make and that others make which put our lives together again.  The rags of brokenness are made into a beautiful crazy quilt of life with stitches of time and love.

Here are just a few of the quotes:

“What if you wake up at sixty and realize that you forgot to wake up, and you never became the person you were born to be, and now your hair is falling out?”

“Ultimately we’re all just walking each other home.  I love that.  I try to live by it.”

“Without stitches, you just have rags.  And we are not rags.”

“When we agree to (or get tricked into) being part of something bigger than our own wired, fixated minds, we are saved.  When we search for something larger than our own selves to hook into, we can come through whatever life throws at us.”

“Only together do we somehow keep coming through unsurvivable loss, the stress of never knowing how things will shake down, to the biggest miracle of all, that against all odds we come through the end of the world, again and again – changed but intact (more or less).”

Anne Lamott has written many books.  About half of them are nonfiction which are largely autobiographical.  She tries to write about the human journey and spiritual transformation with honesty and humor.  download

Ultimately “Stitches” is about becoming absorbed in God and in each other and taking time to help each other mend our lives.  What an evocative image.  As a knitter and one who sews and mends, I am familiar with the beauty that comes from living life one stitch at a time.  And, as someone who takes satisfaction in a garment that has been well mended or a crazy quilt that is well made, I know the value of stitching up the things that others have made.  We mend each other’s brokenness, one stitch at a time.

One final quote from the book:

“We live stitch by stitch, when we’re lucky.  If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching.  And maybe the stitching is crude, or it is unraveling, but if it were precise, we’d pretend that life was just fine and running like a Swiss watch.  This is not helpful if on the inside our understanding is that life is more often a cuckoo clock with rusty gears.”