It has been a trying year. Too many prominent members of the congregation have died with difficult circumstances surrounding their deaths. It is emotional fuel for continued conflict and hurt within the leadership. Too much personal anxiety around mental health issues in immediate family members, inheritance details, feelings of isolation, and decreasing hours of daylight has given birth to a silent litany of “I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care” as a way to cope.
I’ve been quilting, constantly, but not finishing a single project. I’ve started three major pieces in the last month, all with deadlines. I get almost finished, pull it down off the design board and start something else. I contemplate whether my inability to finish mirrors my inability to let grief go. Daily I begin by praying I will have enough emotional resources to get through today.
A couple of weeks ago the widow of one of the recently deceased members celebrated her 65th birthday. Attempted to celebrate. It has been very difficult for her. The first anniversaries after a loved one dies typically is, the first Thanksgiving, the first birthday, the wedding anniversary, the baptism of a grandchild. Christmas is going to be bleak. I managed to finish this quilt and gift it to her. I named it “Strength for Today, Hope for tomorrow.” A line from the powerful hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness. I pray it brings her comfort and some measure of peace.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Lamentations 3:22-24 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
Lamott is an unstoppable storyteller, whether writing about church-going with a sullen adolescent or reconciling with her late mother. She rages against the Iraq war but takes comfort from her sage-like Presbyterian minister, who says faith is not about how we feel it is about how we live. … Rule 1 We are all family. Rule 2 You reap exactly what you sow, that is, you cannot grow tulips from zucchini seeds. Rule 3 Try to breathe every few minutes or so. Rule 4 It helps beyond words to plant bulbs in the dark of winter. Rule 5 It is immoral to hit first.
– Anne Lamott
2 Timothy 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.
In 2011, shortly after my father’s birthday, my grandmother turned 93. If you have read the post “My Father’s Quilt” you might wonder about this. Let me know if you’ve figured it out. She is a very special lady, loving, warm, a strong faith, and a godly mentor. She has given me so much sage and valuable advice throughout my life. She has also given me unlimited love and encouragement in so many ways, not the least of which has been prayer. The Holy Bible only mentions grandmother(s) once, in the quote supplied above. How appropriate that it speaks of the faith living in a grandmother. She is a true gem.
I decided to sew my grandmother a quilt as well. She was so pleased, saying she felt ‘spoiled.’ My grandmother is a crafty person, she taught me how to knit, tried to teach me how to crochet. I love this quilt. It was a bit of a pain because all the blocks were individual. I was using up scraps. There was no sewing 2″ strips of blue and beige/white together and then cutting them into 2″ widths to make the four blocks.
The pattern was followed but I made a mistake, the large beige/white blocks were supposed to run in lines at right angles to the large blue ones. I think it turned out better this way. I didn’t do any fancy machine quilting with this one. I stitched in the ditch with variegated blue thread and used a dark beige thread for the two lines in the border.
I was a little concerned that it might be too masculine with all the plaid and the blue, but the white/beige contrast really ‘prettied’ it up. Did I mention that I loved this quilt?