Compared to others, my family didn’t have much money, but one thing we shared with our community was the Culture of Silence. If something bad or questionable happened, it was all hush-hush or became part of the gossip mill in which I was seldom included. Hard issues like abuse or trauma—even my own—were never dealt with directly.
I became adept at ignoring the obvious, and I could for sure make-do. Making do with what I had financially and emotionally became a well-honed skill. I learned to do the best with what I had.
(These ladies are making-do well before my time)
Mental health was never talked about, but like most humans, I sought love, joy, and beauty. This pursuit became my life-saver.
When, in 1990, my repression of silence broke free and I was ready to process the hidden, dark places in order to heal, my ability to look for beauty among ashes served me well.
Long before that date, I was given the gift of quilt-making. When I was fourteen, a dear friend’s mother invited me over to help her quilt. Later, during the winter of my first child’s birth, my husband worked away so I was alone for days. I gathered scraps from past sewing projects and pieced a sunny quilt top.
Quilting filled the void of my husband’s absence. The scraps refreshed happy memories of clothing I had made for myself and others. It afforded beauty. It was also inexpensive.
I made-do with what I had.
When I first married, someone donated a depleted couch that was covered in stains. I was determined to hide the ugly. This time, I crocheted a large granny-square afghan that stayed on that couch for years.
Later, in order to make my home beautiful, I quilted bedspreads and sewed curtains.
Like choosing a pattern and fabric, I’d been given just so much to work with in life. I had to do the best with what I had, but I could create beauty.
And so can you. No matter our past, each of us can create.
Our creativity comes from our Creator God. If you don’t feel it, try something simple. A coloring book and crayons are pretty basic. A pencil and paper costs little. Digging the ground and planting flower seeds works too.
It’s amazing what difficult issues we can process when our hands are busy creating.
When we express ourselves through our own creations, we are coming out of silence. When we create, our mental health improves and, despite our pain, we begin to catch glimpses of beauty.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.Psalm 96:9 KJV
And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.Exodus 28:2 KJV