My latest completed cross-stitch project contains a quote; “Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.”
I’ve had a lot of those moments in my life, but they have mostly stolen the breath from my lungs in heartbreak, sadness, devastation. And then I woke up this morning and the birds were singing outside my window. A fresh breeze was blowing. My sweet animals were snuggled up to me, warm and soft and full of love. I felt like I could breathe; it was startling because for the last year and a half most mornings found me waking in a panic. What horrible thing had happened overnight or was about to happen now? How would I possibly handle this day?
I think I am starting to find both peace in the decision we were forced to make and in life again. Peace is something that has been sorely lacking in my life, and while I am sure that is true for pretty much all parents, even being able to carve out a few moments of it in the morning on waking was impossible for me. The crushing weight of anxiety on my chest had become so much the norm for me that at first I had no idea how to handle it when it was gone.
I stitched this mostly at night, while I was sick, during February and March. I had made a New Year’s resolution this year to try to make time for the things that I used to love. I hadn’t been doing any crafting, almost no reading, no walking, not spending time with my husband, had neglected my friends to the point where they would have had the right to never speak to me again. I was trying to find a way to recapture the happy person that I was, and at the same time was battling a bronchitis so serious that I couldn’t do much most days other than curl up on the sofa.
I have always felt that, in some ways, needlework captures the mood you create it from. Sometimes it’s hope, with bright careful stitching. Sometimes it’s worry, with the stitches pulled tight and twisted. This time it was sorrow, fear, anxiety… but I still think it’s beautiful. It’s who I was when I stitched it, and I did find hope eventually. And this morning I had a wondrous, breathtaking moment of peace, and perhaps that means there will be more to come.