Every actor must know their cues, which means we all do if we believe as Shakespeare did… All the world’s a stage, all the men and women merely players. Today my cue is a paean to the Mending Basket, also known as a Sewing Box. I have one, my sister had one, our mother had one and her mother had one, going back probably forever since there’s always something that needs to be repaired or altered.
And maybe because when I was growing up in New York and my family was coming apart at the seams, or because it was during the Cold War when we hid under our desks in case an atom bomb fell on the city, I’d be walking home from grade school—twice a day since I came home for lunch, and I’d be looking up at the same old apartment buildings lining the streets, which I now knew like the back of my hand, and I made up a story about them. I was only trying to make the walk home a little more interesting when I saw the buildings as needle cases, the people inside as the needles, and the cars rolling by as spools of thread. And then, I don’t know how since I did not grow up in a religious family, it came to me that the world was God’s mending basket, and we were all in for repairs.
I’ve never forgotten it. It’s the kind of compassionate understanding that keeps anger at bay. Though I can’t say I actually knew that when I was seven or eight walking home from school…
Later in life I heard the expression, “Earth is a school,” and liked it just as much if not more. Judging people can be as destructive as anger. You don’t expect a first-grader to behave like a sixth-grader. I’m as gleeful as the next when wrong-doing is punished, but I also know that whatever is inside them is inside me too. Whether dormant or outgrown, acted upon or ignored, whatever one carries, the other one does too. How can we not if we’re all made from the same substance.
Meanwhile, I go about sewing on a button or darning a sock or fixing a hem. Repairing the little things within my domain. The verb to sew means to join or attach by stitches. Sewing, making one stitch at a time is like sowing, planting one seed at a time. A machine will go faster, but however fast, it’s still one at a time. A magic wand might fix everything in the blink of an eye, but not if we’re in school or in for repairs. Not if we’re here to learn and to grow, because we might turn around and make the same mistakes again.
Happy sewing! Happy sowing! Happy threading those needles and cutting the threads. And when the sewing is done, happy reaping. Happy seeing through the eye of the needle, seeing through the eyes of the soul.
Memory of the Mending Basket brought on by linking souls at A Tree of Light.