I urge you to read this great little book, filled with Anne Lamott’s insight and counsel on ‘collecting the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric’ and how to ‘sew them back together, one stitch at a time.‘ Stitches is part of a three-part series. Hodder & Stoughton have done a great job in the execution of this title.

While there are many feminine descriptions of sewing and quilting woven throughout the book, there is also so much more. Lamott doesn’t gloss over hard truths. She acknowledges that life can sometimes be so painful that it seems unbearable. It can be incredibly difficult to search for even a tiny shred of meaning in the midst of emotional and physical chaos. I admire the kind of honesty that pulls no punches but also sheds light on ways to survive even the hardest times, finding ways back to joy.

Lamott clings to the shirt of a beloved friend who died, even as it becomes worn and threadbare, afraid that losing the shirt will threaten her memories of their friendship. A friend helps her find an unorthodox way to salvage cherished curtains torn by her dog, leading to new insights about the beauty of imperfection, both in the patched curtains and in life. This time around Lamott has written one which is “intended to be useful on the bad days.” For me, it is that and more, with a depth and power that will invite many a re-read. I close with some of my favourite quotes……..

“This is who I want to be in the world. This is who I think we are supposed to be, people who help call forth human beings from deep inside hopelessness.”

“The good news is that if you don’t seal up your heart, and instead stay permeable, people stay alive inside you, and maybe outside you too, forever.”

“….the secret of life is patch, patch, patch. Thread your needle, make a knot, find one place on the other piece of torn cloth where you can make one stitch that will hold. And do it again. And again. And again.”

“You have to keep taking the next necessary stitch, and the next one and the next. Without stitches you just have rags. And we are not rags!”

“The search is the meaning, the search for beauty, love, kindness and restoration in this difficult, wired and often alien modern world. The miracle is that we are here, that no matter how undone we’ve been the night before, we wake up every morning and are still here. It is phenomenal just to be.”