When I was a young girl, fifty some odd years ago, my mother gave me a large red pincushion for a fifth grade sewing class. It was shaped like a tomato with three green leaves on top, and was filled with sawdust to sharpen the pins and needles as they were placed in it and then withdrawn for use. I've stubbornly held on to that tattered old sphere for decades. It had developed a small hole and begun to leak it's contents into the basket I kept it stored in. It was definitely time for a replacement. I looked for another just like it and found one about half it's size in a dollar store.
A couple of weeks ago a friend stopped by with her 9 year old daughter. I gave Elisa the two pincushions and asked if she would transfer the pins and needles from the old to the new while her mother and I visited. She entertained herself for some time making designs with the pins.
After they left, I took the old cushion in my hand and, knowing that there would be several needles that had worked their way into the sawdust, began to push and massage the worn remains. After more pin pricks than I care to remember, I had released close to three dozen needles. I decided there would be less pain involved in the project if I sliced the cushion open and simply poured out what was inside. As the sawdust spilled onto the table, a forest of needles fell with it, nearly a hundred needles in all had been hiding there, sharp and capable of mending tired and torn items...waiting to be taken in hand and used to create heirloom quality beauty with them.
I began to think of the needles that had been trapped inside my old pincushion, and I wondered... How many women have been hiding the talents that are theirs in the sawdust of day to day activities and the responsibiities that lie at the heart of being a wife and mother, holding a job, keeping a home? Am I the only woman who has allowed her God given talents to slip unnoticed into tattered and worn old habits? Maybe I need to take a sharp instrument to my life and cut away the tired and torn fabric that covers my spirit and let my thoughts spill free. Maybe I need to pick up the words that have been wedged inside for so long, unused, unexpressed, and create something with them.
I am not alone. There are hundreds of women like me...like my needles. Women with talents that are tucked somewhere out of sight, sharp and capable and waiting to be set free, waiting to leave an heirloom quality legacy of beauty behind. What a tragedy it will be if their gifts are allowed to remain hidden from view. The greatest sorrow is for what might have been. Who they might have become who they might have entertained, lifted, and inspired. And again I begin to wonder...
Spring Clean Up in the Garden
7 years ago