Guest Writer

The Spiritual Practice of Mending

Laura Everett writes about how she has turned mending into a spiritual practice. Even if getting out the needle and thread do not appeal to you, her insights into the nature of God and how we have the choice to destroy or repair are inspirational. Here are some excerpts:

There is not much reason to mend a worn sock. Socks are cheap. Overnight delivery can get me a new pair by the time I wake up tomorrow. Darning a sock takes time. And yet, I’ve made the commitment to slow down, stitch more and teach others as I take up mending as a spiritual practice.

In practice, most Americans know very little now about mending. I have set out to learn with my hands what I longed for in my life: to repair what is torn….Most of all, mending is spiritual practice. Before any stitch is sewn or any patch prepared, I have to ask myself, “Is this thing in my hands worth repairing?” When I answer “yes,” mending is an act of devotion…

The metaphors are rich and tactile. We learn to look for the places that need repair. We discover holes at the elbows and fraying at the cuffs. We see stress at the seams. We notice the places of friction and instability often need the most repairs.

Sometimes we find that the garment was not well created to begin with and thus, prone to tearing. We learn to look carefully, and ask, “Is this worth fixing?” I find myself asking this often about my neighborhood, my city, my church and my country.

The more I’ve sat in silence darning an old sock, the more I’ve come to sense that this is what God is like. God is a mender. God takes what the world considers disposable, curls up in a large chair and looks with patience to repair what is broken in each of us. God sees our tears and tenderly stitches us up. Sometimes that repair feels like an unraveling. Yet, mending is an affirmation of worth.

Mending is practice for what my Jewish friends name as “tikkun olam” or “repair of the world.” We have the choice to destroy or to become co-participants in repair. I choose repair.