Of Genies and Sewing Machines, and Wisdom Calling in the Streets

Over the past few weeks I've been meditating on the Book of Proverbs. And sewing machines.

The Proverbs part has been good, and convicting, and unexpectedly comforting.

The sewing machine part has been just plain exhilirating.

I was trembling with excitement when Andy brought the old Merritt 4530 home from the thrift store. Which isn't terribly surprising. I'm a generally excitable sort of person, and any new creative outlet is bound to send me into ecstasy.

It really was surprising, though, that the whole project just got better and better. It took me a week of hard research to figure out how to work the machine, without benefit of an instruction manual, and when (with some gracious help from Marcy Koch) I finally figured out how to make it work... it didn't.

And I just got more and more excited. Or rather, my initial excitement slowly began to morph into something deeper and gladder. Really knowing a sewing machine on a deep level--even a broken one!-- turned out to be even better than I'd hoped making stuff would be.

After a quick search on google local I called up the Singer Sewing Center of Orange County, and Steve told me that he'd be glad to take a look, see if it was worth fixing.

It wasn't.

The shop was an adorable little mom-and-pop establishment. Apparently she quilts, he machine-embroiders, and they love what they do. It's a tiny place, and modest, but the massive discount fabric warehouse across the parking lot brings a flow of customers their way, and exceptional customer service brings them back again.

On my second trip out there, I became aware of praise choruses playing softly in the background, but I was already pretty sure that Steve was somebody who loves Jesus, just from the way he treated everybody. He was every bit as courteous to me as to the big time customers as to the homeless guy, and put the same effort into helping me find the right machine for my needs and budget as he did into helping the other ladies understand the deep and marvelous mysteries of a very fine $3,000 embroidery machine.

I ended up buying a basic Elna, not too many bells and whistles, but well-made and durable.

I decided a pair of pajamas would be a good first project. I desperately needed some warmer pjs, especially since we'd stopped heating the house at night, and it would be okay if they were a little bit clumsily done.

The elegant little machine worked like a dream, doing everything precisely as I chose. Which didn't make the pants fit exactly right... I hadn't quite gotten the hang of properly choosing where I really wanted that seam to be. But somehow even the mistakes gave me an euphoric sense of power. With this little machine, I can take some cloth and some thread and with relatively little effort, do pretty much anything I want to. All I have to do is learn how to want the right things.

This sense of empowerment has been leaking through to other areas of my life, and this beautifully sensible little device has been teaching me all sorts of widely-applicable life lessons.

But it wasn't until this morning that I realized how intertwined it all was with Proverbs.

I was reading to the wuggies, a silly Disney book in which Mickey, Goofy, and Donald play out the age-old theme of the wasted wishes. Be careful what you wish for, because it just might be exactly what you get.

It's the same theme as I've been noticing in Proverbs lately. Over and over the wise teacher exhorts us to love wisdom. It is wise to love wisdom! It is wise to love wisdom!

I always found that a tad confusing and redundant. I mean, of course it's true... just not terribly helpful. I would come wanting to hear something important about wisdom, and would feel a bit cheated by the repeated announcements that wisdom is wise.

This time around, it made sense, though, and the words were deeply comforting. Wisdom is calling out in streets, it's there for the taking. Just wanting to become wise is the first step, and if you do want to become wise, then you will. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you. Seek and you shall find.

You just have to learn to want the right things, that's all.


S.J. Palmer said...

I'm glad!

Christa said...

Ah sewing. :) I've wrestled with that - and have made pajamas. . . somehow though, the buttocks region seams were straight rather than curvy (unlike my butt) and I belw a hole in them the first time I sat down. *sigh*

Better luck with yours! :)

Elena said...

My seams are curvy. Not always exactly the right curves, but definitely curvy... =/

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