The other day I stumbled across a quilt I had made in High School, which was tucked into the back of the basement cedar closet. As I looked at the stitches, patches, and blocks, I was thinking about how much doing agility is like making that quilt.The first time you try it, you will likely use the supplies you have on hand, just to give it a go. And at first you will struggle with even the simple pieces, trying and trying again. You generally have no plans, and no picture in your mind of where you are going. It is just for fun, right? And if you are lucky, you will have an expert to help show you the way to success and make you want to continue. But even then, you struggle. Some will quit; you will persevere.
Before long, the pieces begin going together and soon you have a block, and then two; patterns emerge and you will marvel at how far you’ve come. Sometimes a mistake in the early days will mar your quilt. Some will rip out the seams and go back to the beginning to make corrections. Fixing things like start line stays or contacts. Others will continue on, knowing that their quilt will never be perfect, but taking joy from the fact that they are still building a quilt and seeing where they have improved. And no one can tell you what is right and what is wrong… this is YOUR quilt after all!
From the beginning, many of us dream of a special block or two. Something that shows how hard you have worked and what you have achieved. And whether that block is a MACH, a NAC, a world-team tryout, or even if there is no special block, it matters not. Because just one block does not make a quilt. The quilt is no less warm, no less useful, no less loved without a special block.
It is our greatest hope, though, that we can finish this quilt. That our teammate will be at our side throughout, and until the day we put in the last stitch and say “it is done.” Sadly, too many will be interrupted and the quilt will go unfinished, with the raw edges of the quilt and the raw edges of our hearts, serving as a constant reminder of what ‘could have been’.
But despite the challenges, the mistakes, the rips, the repairs, and the unfinished blocks that go into our agility quilts, in the end we are always a winner. We end with a beautiful patchwork of love and memories, of trials, of challenges, of triumphs, and of course, in the end, heartache.
But we hold that lovely quilt against our hearts, and we use it to dry our tears and the stitches that hold the patches seem to bind our wounds, and the warmth lays upon our being. And it gives us the strength...to begin again.