I’ve been doing counted cross-stitch since I was in high school. I guess I started because I thought it was pretty (I feel pretty right now, just typing that), and I like math and the whole grid aspect of cross-stitching. If you like geometry, you’ll like this.

I shared the 2 santa samplers with my diakonia class this morning. I gave a presentation about my calling, and I wanted to do something visual. But, I wanted to tie it together with everything else. So, I riffed. Here’s what I shared.

It occurs to me that my cross-stitching is a metaphor. You can look at the whole thing and see a pretty image. If you look really closely, you’ll the individual crosses. Kind of like Georges Seurat and pointillism, if you’re artsy. Each individual stitch is an important part of the whole image. Each stitch matters. If you start leaving out stitches, you’ll change the image. Is that good or bad? Does it matter? Read on.

You can’t tell from these pictures, but I like to work at 28 count. That’s 28 stitches per inch. Scroll to the bottom for larger images. I have strong glasses. Everyone makes fun of me for jacking up my desktop resolution, but so what if they’re all more blind than me. Sure, my eyes start bleeding after a while, and I have to stop. But after my break, I can start again.

Cross-stitching takes a lot of patience. Ask your friends who sew. One stitch at a time. I’m gifted with abnormal patience. Don’t know why. But, there’s something fulfilling about each stitch. Something satisfying. Something inherent and palpable. I take a certain pleasure from each stitch. I can’t see the whole picture when I’m walking each square, but I know I’m being led along. I will eventually be done. But not today. Not now. I don’t know when it will be, but I know it will be.

Periodically, you do have to stop and look at the unfinished picture. You do need to know where you’re going. But then you go back to your stitches and your zen place. But it’s your microscope place too. When you lead a project or ministry, are you taking each little step lovingly, or are you micromanaging?

You know you’ll get to the end. You’ll celebrate, and you really should. You’ve created something beautiful for the world. And then you have the joy of picking your next project.

Oh, and I almost forgot…. about leaving out stitches. Sometimes you decide to skip stitches. Or move stitches. You can improvise. It’s allowed. Maybe you’re losing patience and you’re cutting corners. Maybe I screwed up in measuring my fabric, and I’m stuck making everything fit. That just happened, by the way. But regardless why, you’ve just made the pattern your own. Can you still make a pretty picture? I like to think that’s what I do. That’s what I try to do.

So where am I going with this? Being flexible and forgiving. Give each small detail some love. Periodically consider where I’m going. Rinse and repeat. Forgive my mistakes and turn them into something beautiful, because I can. Jesus showed us infinite love through his broken body on a cross, broken for you and for me. The scandal of infinite glory through utter weakness.

And here are larger images for your pleasure:


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