AshleyThe prior week had been crazy fun. A morning of playing with paint and stamps creating decorative papers for an art project the following week. Each woman had made at least one colorful 12×12 sheet they knew we were going to cut into 4″ squares to be shared with one another. As best they could figure out from our tickler description, they would be making some kind of crazy quilt using their decorative papers.

Well, let’s just say I had a general idea how this art project would go together, but when I began to prep it down at my art partner’s studio, it was evident that two heads are better than one. How I had anticipated presenting the activity to the women would have been crazy. Totally confusing and frustrating. Lee’s observations and alternatives clearly rescued me from the brink of creative chaos. Let’s just say that everything was pre-cut, sorted, and packaged in zip-lock bags with the appropriate quarter circle template for each participant’s convenience – just like an elementary school teacher would prep an art project for her students.

After passing out baggies full of painted papers, the women at the Lighthouse, a fifteen-month, faith-based, residential treatment program for substance abuse recovery, were invited to create their own “crazy” paper designs using a traditional quilt pattern called Drunkard’s Path! As they set to work creating their design we talked about the things that kept them on the “drunkard’s path” – secrets, being overly self-confident, not thinking their behavior was wrong or destructive. BUT, as I went on to explain, the quilt pattern is also called the Wisdom of Solomon. So after all their quilt designs were glued in place on re-purposed file folders, they grabbed their Bibles and began to write the words of Scripture that were like the wisdom of Solomon to them – the words of love, truth, and hope that have helped them leave the drunkard’s path to pursue the wise path of sobriety and recovery.

Ashley 2One of the women struggled with following directions how to cut a quarter circle from the corner of each 4″ square piece of painted paper. Cutting it from the side rather than the corner produced an odd shape that wasn’t compatible with the drunkard’s path/wisdom of Solomon pattern we’d intended. Discouraged, she quit gluing after a few pieces were in place believing she’d ruined her design. But I believe in happy accidents rather than ruined art work and simply said to her, “Ashley, that’s how new quilt designs are discovered every day. Somebody cuts a piece of fabric “wrong” and suddenly a new quilt pattern is created. Finish gluing your pieces and let’s see what it looks like.” She beamed over the sweet redeemed craziness of her composition.

While each crazy quilt was uniquely different, they, nonetheless, had a similar appearance – not unlike their lives in recovery. Every woman could, on some level, identify with every other woman’s story of addiction. The details were different, but the resulting “drunkard’s path” was in many ways similar. The sharing of a piece of painted paper made by every other woman in the program symbolized that each woman’s crazy quilt was more than sharing a history of addiction. It was also about the sharing of wisdom they spoke into one another lives – the words of love, truth and hope about the real path of recovery. Just as they had contributed a small piece of paper to one another, they have also each contributed to one another’s growing recovery. As the ladies would say, “That’s crazy!”

If you’ve experienced “two heads being better than one”, what kind of grief did that relationship save you? If you’ve experienced a “drunkard’s part transformed into the “wisdom of Solomon”, who has spoken into you life to encourage that? How about a “happy accident”? Tell us about a time you thought something was ruined only to discover it had been redeemed in some crazy way.


5 comments to Crazy

  • Norrene

    Very nice story.

  • Jan

    Aren’t you and Lee lucky to have found each other. Love your response to the lady you wished to quit. My mantra this year is “Never be afraid to start over.”

  • cynthia

    my favorite “crazy accident” happened when melting crayons & cellophane to make beads. after a while my friend & i thougt, what if we melt saran wrap? we got some gorgeous beads from melted saran wrap. something i’ve never seen before! a close friend of mine claims that there are no mistakes, just design opportunities. and i love creating in community! wonderful magic happens during those times.

    i’ve been doing alot of crazy piecing lately with fabric. it’s helped me come to acceptance of the life i’m living as a disabled woman. my life looks nothing like the life i’d planned. yesterday i had a doc appt, at the rehab center where i worked before my stroke. i felt an overwhelming sense of craziness that i was entering the building as a patient rather than an employee. and i felt the deep sadness of what i’ve lost because a malformed blood vessel in my brain hemorrhaged. i think i’m finally doing the grieving that i couldn’t face 30 yesars ago.

  • Judy Siudara

    Thank goodness for the”craziness” es of our lives! this is a wonderful redemptive story and creative activity. Carry on! J.

  • Susan Ludes

    I love the vibrancy and energy in each crazy quilt.
    After looking at the photos I can understand the “Drunkard’s Path” label. How did the same quilt pattern get to be called “Solomon’s Wisdom”?

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