Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sharing Warmth


On cold winter days I have enjoyed the comfort of wrapping myself in a soft blanket while drinking steaming mugs of chai tea or hot cocoa. Regardless of the crispness of the air outside my home or the chill imparted by brilliant white snowflakes drifting past the windows, I am warmed by blankets enveloping me that have been crocheted by my mother. She has created them for my siblings, our children and grandchildren, picking colors that enhanced the decor of our homes. We have photographs of all of us grouped together, wrapped in afghans that we all received from her on Christmas morning, six years ago. Her crocheting has brought warmth to her and many others.

In 2004, After my father passed on from an extended illness, Mom, then 78, decided that she wanted to do something to give back to others. Mom started by offering her time to schedule musical events for her elder living facility. Soon after, she joined a choir that sings in community events and at elder care facilities. In her pursuit to bring happiness and healing to others, Mom became a member of the prayer shawl ministry in her church. The group members knit or crochet shawls that they present to babies being baptized, new mothers, individuals who are ill or struggling with emotional challenges, and terminally ill prisoners. Before gifting the shawls they pray over them together, adding their prayers for peace and healing to the loving attention that went into every stitch while it was being created.

Mom purchases skeins of yarn whenever they are on sale. Incomplete ones that have been given to her are added as stripes, harmoniously blended with the dominant color of the shawl. Mom has been legally blind with macular degeneration for at least 30 years. Despite her eyesight becoming progressively compensated, and with the additional challenge of cataracts, Mom crochets prayer shawls, constantly, in her free time. Each time I visit her, Mom shows me her newest creations: soft Aryan shawls; shawls created from golden yellow yarns that are reminiscent of sunshine; shawls that float over her lap in Grecian blues. It amazes me that she can consistently, and beautifully, produce such perfectly executed needlework when she has only limited peripheral vision. Although Mom doesn’t talk about it, she can now barely see a few inches in front of her face. Regardless, In 2008, Mom, with her extremely limited vision and diligent persistence, added to the warmth and healing of others, by crocheting a total of one hundred prayer shawls during the year.

In what way can you challenge yourself to reach beyond what you or others may perceive as a limitation? What gifts or skills can you share or express more fully? How can you bring more warmth into the world?

3 comments:

Sue O'Kieffe said...

very touching story about your mom...love this illustration as well...reminds me of the song "grandma's hands"(Keb Mo')

Cheryl Finley: said...

Kate,
What an amazing story about your mom. 100 prayer shawls, yes..it makes one reconsider the idea of 'limitation'. I am certainly inspired and your mom's story has give me much to consider. What an amazing woman and willing conduit for spirit. Bless her...and hugs to you too. (((0))) ~Cheryl

Stacy Wills said...

such a beautiful testimony...your mother is an amazing woman, and so are you!