Thursday, February 21, 2013

handmade holidays 2012: some things are worth waiting for

ah, here we are. Yes, I know, it's February. I'm two months late. This project took so much longer than I expected, to be honest. I think I never would have finished it, except that being sick suddenly provided a window - and I rediscovered the satisfaction of stitching for hours, while watching tons of BBC/Masterpiece film adaptations of Jane Austen novels.


 The verse is one of my most favorite lines (with one added repetition) from one of my most favorite poems, T.S. Eliot's Little Gidding. Little Gidding is the last of Eliot's Four Quartets, and its reflection on the nature of time and eternity, the meaning of human life, and the mystical, metaphysical images combining earthly and unearthly matter (body and spirit) are wonderful. It is associated with the season of winter, and the element of fire.

But these lines: "all shall be well/and all manner of/thing shall be well" are borrowed from an earlier writer, Julian of Norwich. Her Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love is believed to be the first book written in the English language (Middle English) by a woman. This only makes it more special, more resonant to me. And though not necessarily a religious person, I admire and appreciate the vision of a divinity who promises that, "all shall be well." In the face of all that life throws at us - love and loss, change and inconstancy - who doesn't want to be promised that, in the end, "all shall be well"?

This also seemed the perfect mantra for my parents; my father finally retired this November - his body could not take any more physical strain of  the kind of labour he was doing. I wanted to promise my parents that I will finish my Ph.D., get a job, and take care of them as they have always taken care of me. All shall be well.

"All Shall Be Well." Cotton floss on cotton canvas. Satin stitch, straight stich, stem stitch, herringbone stitch, chain stitch, french knots. 7.5" square. 2013.


Alicia P. said...

This is so gorgeous. What an amazing present. (Another amazing present from you. You inspire me.) Truly precious.
xoxo, a

fleur_delicious said...

Thanks, Alicia! Gosh, I can't believe I didn't reply sooner - how rude! (although, obviously, if I'm giving Christmas gifts in March, I'm not exactly running on schedule these days, huh?)