The Lovely Layered Life

January 17, 2023


I was recently reminded of something my pastor said last year. “Life is layered.” Or it was something like that. I may have mentally abbreviated it, but the meaning stuck with me. 

Jenna Meon is a friend I rarely get to see, but I love following her blog, The Painted Apron, where she offers painting and cooking instruction. She recently demonstrated a project by first sketching a bird, then adding yellow paint. It was rather ho-hum, until she added dark yellow, light blue, dark blue and green and finally, a flourish of red spatters. Layer after layer was applied until the completed painting was beautiful. 

The beginnings of something beautiful by Jenna Meon - The Painted Apron

Life is a series of layers. Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s what the pastor said. In one way or the other. 

Nothing can or should be the same year after year. Things change. As much as I’d love to be stuck in 2001 when I had no wrinkles, two cute little boys, a husband with jet black hair and parents and grandparents who could visit anytime, things just can’t stay the same. People come and go, children grow up and our dogs die. But a truly beautiful life doesn’t just consist of the happy days. It’s the blending of colors, dull and bright, that brings beauty, depth and meaning. 

Like art, sameness creates a one-dimensional boring, flat life. 

What is the saying? “Don’t live the same year 75 times in a row and call it a life.” 

Just ask friends who moved here from the Northern states. We reluctantly listen to their “free advice” on driving — oh, how they love to use the horn, but we’ve learned to welcome their advice on how to dress for cold weather. They take layering seriously and if you are headed to a snowy climate, will give you detailed instructions and brand names of what to wear. We trade advice with them in August on how to stay cool. (old fashioned folding fans tucked into your pocketbook make you look like a genius at outdoor concerts). 

A few more details The Painted Apron

I think that’s one reason I love antique quilts. They are the layers of small experiences stitched together to weave a beautiful tale. “That square is from my Easter dress in 1964.” “That’s a corner from my old pillow,” “that’s a piece of Daddy’s tie.” But now, it’s a tapestry of warm history. Layer upon layer, telling the family story.

The finished project.

Like a sandwich with savory roasted turkey, a sour pickle and tangy mustard, our varied days complement each other. 

Another "how-to" lesson from Jenna.

Somehow, thinking of years as layers makes the sour parts easier to take. We know they’ll soon be covered in something different. Paintings, cold weather gear, quilts and sandwiches all follow the layer upon layer rule. 

Jenna and my pastor make a good team. 

Visit Jenna's blog at: The Painted Apron

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