My younger daughter made 12 quilts in 12 summers, from the time she was in the first grade. All but two she gave to friends. Recently I decided to track them down from their far-flung homes, photograph them, and make a scrapbook of the textile art. The first order of business was to make a complete list of the recipients and then contact them requesting permission to drop in with my camera.
The owners of my daughter’s quilts were people I had never known very well—to my shame. They were her friends, or the mothers of her friends, and I had never applied myself to know them beyond the utilitarian needs of drop-offs and pick-ups. Now I was seeking out their presence for a mission, the quilt project.
One day during my pursuit I texted my daughter from the front porch of one of the names on my list: “Does their doorbell work?” She texted back: “Mom, don’t bother with this.” I texted later, after a successful entry: “I’m having fun. Just doing my thing. I had a nice chat with Rhoda that I wouldn’t have otherwise.” She replied: “OK, cool.”
The little life lesson one learns from “bothering” with things is that it always enriches. What at first seems to be the shouldering of just another burden is soon revealed to be a means of intersecting with people and ideas you would not have if you had stayed home and watched TV. One of the quilts was hanging on the sunporch of a person I learned is in the end stages of cancer—this is an opening for me with the gospel, if I take it. Another of the quilts led me to a sweet week of shared rides with a young woman I had watched grow up but never had a comfortable conversation with.
The quilt became the nonthreatening object in the middle, the focus that defused tension, a fortuitous prop, a key to doors I would have had no standing to enter.
Nowadays my husband is very ill. I would like to say I would not have it otherwise. And yet, what people we’ve met, what kindnesses we’ve received, what knowledge we’ve gained, what insight into ourselves we’ve obtained. The Lord in His wisdom has ordained that with every hard time comes a blessing. The alternative, of course, is to stay locked in your room and never live.