Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Folding, unfolding

One quilt pattern I have never tried to make is called Cathedral Windows. There is a lot of folding involved, and folding is really not my forte. If you need convincing, just look at my linen closet. Every time I go in Gap, I marvel at the perfection of their folded attire. If I dare to pick a T-shirt up to check the size, I never can get it folded back the way they had it. I feel as if I have disgraced myself in some way.

Even in cards, folding is not something I would want to do (even if I could play a card game that involved it). "Know when to fold 'em." Sounds like quitting to me. If you could see the boxes of quilt projects "in process" in my sewing room, you would understand I have a hard time giving in and giving up.

But unfolding - aye, that's different. That word has so many pleasant connotations for me. Unfolding of an angel's wings. Unfolding of a blossom. Unfolding journey, unfolding mystery. Agathie Christie's famous detective, Hercule Poirot, loves to promise confidently in his charming Belgian accent, "All will be revealed." There's something orderly when things are gradually revealed until the whole thing is finally open, and all is known. It gives a sense of completion. Oddly, unfolding seems to give closure.

I'm reading a book that forced me to look at that idea in a new way. The book is Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O'Donohue.
It is interesting that the word revelation comes from re-valere, literally, "to veil again." The world of the soul is glimpsed through the opening in a veil that closes again.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are well aware that I like things to be known. I like to know where I will be living, where I will be working, whether I can lose 20 pounds, and I certainly do not like the unknown (with its synonyms of uncertain, undisclosed, undecided, unresolved, unsettled). This idea of re-veiling intrigued me. It skewed my stable interpretation of my life gradually revealing itself until all is known. If what John O'Donohue says is true, then life doesn't follow a straight linear pattern of unfolding, like a flower does. Life is, as they say, "one step forward and two steps back" sometimes. It's glimpses of certainty and progress, then uncertainty and retreat, having glimmers of hope, then dealing with doubt and worry. A quick peek under the veil - you see a nose, maybe - then all is covered again. Another peek - you see an eye this time - or is it an ear? - and then all is hidden again. Zig-zags, U-turns, wandering, all on our chosen path, or in some cases, the path chosen for us.

My innate desire for order and pattern is not compatible with such a circuitous journey. I want, however, to open myself to the possibilities such a journey entails. And life continues to unfold.

In the end, all will certainly be revealed, and the veil will come off - just not necessarily on my personal timetable. I just need to learn to keep myself awake and aware so I don't miss those little peeks in the meantime.

1 comment:

Tif said...

Sounds like a job for the TSA!