I’m notoriously bad at taking pause for celebration. I take pause for necessary things – things like rest and rejuvenation, self-preservation and service – but when it comes to a celebratory pause? I don’t know; I hesitate. There’s just always something to do – another project to complete, another email to send, another lesson to learn, and why is the fridge bare yet again?
But this scarf, this design. I knew from the get-go it was bigger than me. I knew it wasn’t about celebrating me or Melissa, Nashville or Ethiopia, screenprinting or weaving, but that it was celebrating the all of it all. The abilities and talents and passions in each of us, and the great, great responsibility that comes with these gifts.
And so, in the spirit of all – of every and each – I flew to Nashville last weekend for an intimate dinner party with a few friends, new and old. There were firepit conversations and cheese plates and women with ideas and voices and love, so of course, you know I had to ask everyone my favorite question.
There were many answers shared as we dipped bread into oil – refilling glasses between bouts of laughter and tears, fork clinks and fears. It was what I imagine many dinner parties to be; what I hope them all to be – suspended moments in time where we meet each other for hours, locked eyes and dropped pretenses. The kind where the stove simmers and the candles drip and then it’s just all of the sudden 11pm – time to gather our coats to relieve the babysitters or let out dogs as we head home and step out into the cold, dark night – souls as full as bellies.
And as our misconceptions and lies and truths and stories fell onto the table among emptied bowls and bread crumbs, there was something palpable in the air. Something sacred in the midst. It was a knowledge as precise as the table runner that connected us – this realization that we are abundantly capable. Feverishly able. That we are different, but the same, but different.
And yet, that the very thread that makes us precisely the same is the one that we sometimes use to strangle each other; to weave a story of division and judgment. It’s a thread we use to define our choices and preserve our selves; one that can be tangled in lies or stretched out in truth.
From the very beginning of time, we have stood on either ends of wood planks – whether rod or fence or farmhouse table. And we have pointed fingers and made snap judgments about what we think we know to be true. You: Tarzan, Me: Jane. You: Working Mother, Me: Stay-At-Home Mother. You: Don’t Want Kids, Me: Can’t Live Without ‘Em. You: Free Range, Organic. Me: Sugar, Fat. You: Religious, Me: Not.
And we have told each other lies we didn’t mean to tell, because we didn’t realize they were lies. You: Defined By Your Job, Me: Defined By My Kids. You: Fearful of The Past, Me: Fearful of The Future. You: Capable of Everything, Me: Capable of Nothing.
It’s time we changed the story. It’s time we dispelled the lies – the ones we weave into ourselves and the ones we weave into others. The ones that shout that we aren’t able because we aren’t worthy. That we aren’t able because we aren’t good. That we aren’t able because we aren’t enough.
I cannot think of a greater lie; that we are not enough.
But friends? I also can’t think of a greater truth. Because, alone – we aren’t enough. We never will be. We weren’t designed to be.
We were designed for community – for circled firepits and clasped hands and affirming words. For hunger and celebration and strife. For good and beauty and joy. For love. For love and grace and love.
And I suppose it took a scarf for me to realize that.
A scarf and a dinner party.
A scarf and a dinner party and a few truth-telling women.
p.s. Thank you for these beautiful photos, April.