So it occurred to me that both Amy and I have an affinity for hobbies with pointy metal objects: Hers, sewing needles; Mine, fencing foils.
Fencing is for me what quilting is for Amy. Instead of a hobby, it’s a habit. More than a pastime; it is a passion. In fact, when we walked to the car together after my very first fencing lesson, and she asked me if I liked it, I said, “I’m going to do this for the rest of my life.”
After just two years, I had climbed to the top of the ratings in Colorado, and the next year I started coaching—eventually running a fencing school of my own. Amy saw how passionate I was about fencing and even picked up a foil a couple times just to see what it was all about.
Turns out…she didn’t love it. But that’s okay. She had tried it. She tried it, not because she was looking for an outlet for a hidden competitive streak—or because of some romantic nostalgia for medieval times. She tried it because she loves me.
Her understanding of fencing had risen from observer to participant. And understanding more about fencing—about something I loved to do—helped her understand me better.
This is important because I’m sure there are times when I’ve said or done the wrong thing, communicated something poorly, and the only thing that kept a miscommunication from turning into a major fight was that she knows me so very well.
What Amy did in those few hours behind the mask was grow the number of things we have in common. She stitched another seam—right sides together—of common ground that is not accidental at all, but very intentional.
It is in this spirit that I am pleased to announce I am making my own quilt!
So what will it look like? Though I don’t have nearly the readership Amy has, I do try to write a little on the side when the kids are asleep, and there’s no one to fence. And more and more I find my writing centered around this quote from George Eliot:
“A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some area of native land where it may get the love of tender kinship from the earth, for the labors men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge.”
My quilt is definitely rooted in some area of native land. But it’s also rooted in something else. It’s rooted in the very purposeful act of becoming a participant in the passion that my wife has for quilting. It’s rooted in placing myself in her shoes, even just for a couple weeks, to give us more common ground. It’s rooted in love.
I love my wife, and I’ve had a blast making this quilt. I don’t know that I’ll be haunting fabric stores for Japanese imports or trolling Fat Quarter shop for the latest Denyse Schmidt offering anytime soon, but I do feel like the world that Amy and I share together just got a little bigger.