In 1982, a woman I worked with named Jackie introduced me to art of cross stitching. I watched her work on her cross stitch projects during our lunch hour, how her fingers tenderly and precisely poked the needle through the fabric and how she gently teased the thread through to the other side and then started again.
It was rhythmic the way she worked that needle and almost hypnotizing to watch. She said she found it relaxing and it was easy to see why. She inspired me to want to make beautiful cross stitched things too.
I was 22-years-old at the time and had just moved to Texas from the Midwest and didn’t know a lot of people. Consequently, I had more time than friends and I thought that maybe cross stitching would be a good way to absorb some of those long after-work hours that I spent alone as well as satisfy the itch to do something creative.
I went to a craft store and picked out a cross stitch kit with a butterfly motif. As I handed over the few dollars I had to the cashier, I fully believed with all my heart that like Jackie, I would finish it in a week or two.
As I walked out of the store with my new cross stitch kit, I was already envisioning the glory of the finished product and experiencing the glow of satisfaction I would feel as I gave it to my mother for Christmas. She would be delighted and awe struck that I had created such finery for $3.99.
I worked on it faithfully every day for a few weeks, tediously stitching and un-stitching the rainbow of thread into butterflies. Then one day, I decided to take a short break and set it aside. It was another year or so before I picked it up again. That was 1984. I haven’t touched it since.
Every once in a while, as I’m looking for something, I’ll find it tucked into a box of odd things that fail categorization. I suppose I could feel badly that it has remained unfinished all these years, but for me there was tremendous value in the doing, if not the finishing. And besides, we will all leave this life with unfinished business. None of us will finish all we set out to do.
I just hope that when I leave this world, that any unfinished business I leave behind is no more consequential than butterflies.
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Anyone else have an aging and unfinished project tucked away somewhere? Anything older than my 25-year-old butterflies?