When I was a little girl at school, I learnt to sew: not very well. It sounds Victorian now, but we had to learn to do different stitches on a piece of cloth called a sampler. By the end of term mine was crumpled and grey with holes where I had had to unpick the stitches and try again. Eventually I graduated to make an apron, but again, it was a sorry affair, joyfully abandoned and never worn. A bit of a bodge up.
Lately I have been rediscovering the fun of creativity as a long forgotten instinct to make something has suddenly reasserted itself . I started with knitting just before Christmas and a few weirdly coloured hats and scarves emerged. Then I thought I would venture into sewing. But because all the shops are shut, I couldn’t go out to buy materials and fabrics, so I phoned a friend who has a curtain making business to ask if she had any bits and pieces that I could experiment with. She happily left a couple of bags of leftovers on our door step.
There was some beautiful stuff: mostly heavy brocades, far too stiff and thick for any clothing. (Remember the Sound of Music when Maria made play clothes for seven children out of curtains? I’m sceptical). But eventually I hit upon a tutorial online , “How to make a cloth bag.” In fact I was surprised to discover that there are dozens of tutorials making all sorts of things!
How difficult could it be? I chose a tasteful beige and brown material for my first attempt and cut up an old sheet for lining. I struggled a bit with frayed edges, and ended up with a passable bag which looked fine on the outside but didn’t bear much scrutiny on the inside. I sorted that by running a line of machine stitching all round the outside, hiding the ragged edges inside. Bit of a bodge up, but not bad.
For my second attempt I tried a different technique. The tutorial made it look so easy! This time the outside fabric was grey with pink leaves and the lining was a bright magenta. I got into a horrible muddle and ended up with one side right and the other with the lining and stitching outside. I racked my brains : I could not see how it worked! Back to the drawing board, or rather, the Ipad. At last I could see how the pieces were meant to be sewn together, and the end result was quite pleasing. But I am glad that all the ragged ends are hidden inside the lining. Again, a bit of a bodge up.
My next attempt at creativity was in the garden. I have long wanted to plant a vegetable patch, and sowed some lettuce, tomatoes , and beetroots in some plastic food cartons. Then on a trip to Lidl’s, between the soup and socks, lo and behold , a cold frame! I returned home triumphantly with my find.
Terry kindly helped me put it together, although flat packs are not our preferred way of spending time. However, it was a warm, sunny day, so we got on with it.
It was not straightforward : no words, just rather indistinct diagrams were our guide. But after a couple of hours our mini green house was constructed. The corners are not quite ninety degrees and there is a gap between the panes at the top, but, hey, the seedlings look happy. Bit of a bodge up, but it works.
As I read through Philippians, I keep coming across words Paul uses to describe himself now, and what he will be. He says, he is not yet perfect, but he is pressing on. But although he has not yet attained perfection, he has a glorious hope, that the perfect is waiting for him, while he stretches forward to grasp what Christ has already obtained for us.
He says it even more clearly to Titus: “Now unto Him who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless in the presence of his glory with exceeding joy”. What a prospect! As we stumble along, straining toward the goal, there will come a day when Jesus presents us before the Father with joy, and the Father will welcome us because we will then be perfect, in Christ. Not a bodge up! Do you feel like a bodge up now? Bit of a muddle? A bit ashamed by your mistakes and discouraged that perfection seems so unattainable and frankly, unlikely? That is not how the Father sees you. He sees you in Christ, his perfect son.
Not a bodge up.