Love and Some Sewing Scissors Heal All

February 2, 2013 by  

A few months ago I had to push through a very difficult task that had been causing me a lot of anxiety, nervousness and concern. I had been thinking about and preparing for it for quite awhile. It was the kind of task that makes you have sleepless nights because you want to make sure you really get it right because it is possibly going to deeply affect a lot of people. It was the kind of task where you are not guaranteed the outcome you are planning on by actually doing the task– you can really only just hope for it and keep your fingers crossed.  The preparation had not been easy and so the day was heavy on my mind. And it was heavy on my heart.

It was not so much that I was afraid of doing the task because I have become accustomed to pushing through difficult times. It was moreso that I wanted to be measured and calm. I wanted to be dignified and I wanted to be gracious. I wanted to have the right amount of appropriate compassion. But the worry of how it would actually go was ripping me apart and tearing me up both inside and out. That is how I felt.

To help me manage times like these I often think of the darkest hour I ever experienced in my life. Yes, it was literally an hour. Just sixty minutes. In that hour many years ago I birthed my first son knowing he was already dead. Such a dreadful, sad, despairing occasion. And I tell myself that I if I could get through that particular 60 minutes pretty much intact and whole, if I could get to the other side of that nightmare with a healthy outlook on life and my future, well, then I could get through pretty much anything else to come.  So that is what I thought about to help me through that task last year a few weeks before Christmas.

So the moment of getting through the task at hand came and went. My thoughtful preparation served me well and I hope it also well served the many people affected by the outcome, too.  Finally, the task was done and over with. I felt relief as well as piles of sadness.

Just then the doorbell rang — literally only a few minutes after I was finished. There was another package on my front porch — this time it was a rather large box and I saw that it was from my brother who lives in Texas who would be visiting for Christmas later that month. I thought to myself he must’ve shipped some holiday gifts ahead of his arrival and because I needed to move on to some other things I left the box in my foyer unopened.  I thought I would open the box later that evening and arrange the gifts under the tree then when I had more time.

But something kept nudging at me to open the box as I attempted to carry on with my schedule. I was feeling pretty beat up and bedraggled by then and I thought the Christmas presents could cheer me up. So I went back to the foyer.

Antique Sewing Kits from Betty's Care Package

Antique Sewing Kits from Betty’s Care Package

Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and found instead a treasure trove of my late sister-in-law’s BEAUTIFUL antique sewing items. Nothing was wrapped in Christmas gift paper. Instead everything was packed in white tissue and newsprint ready to be examined immediately. There were antique leather sewing kits that ladies would keep in their purses. There were bobbins, knitting needles, spool holders, darning accessories, cloth tape measures, antique silver scissors, seam rippers, and even a wood sewing case filled with wooden spools of thread, sewing tools, needle kits, antique button cards, thimbles, and more. And there were antique sewing instruction books and patterns, too. The box of items was simply exquisite.

My sister-in-law, Betty, died several years ago after a long illness while she was still quite young. Her passing left a huge void in my heart. She was the first person to leave us in our family and in my own personal life. We met when I was four-years-old when she met and married my oldest brother and so I grew up with her and she became my confidante and mentor.

Me and Betty ~ 1966

Me and Betty ~ 1966

To receive these beautiful women’s things that she had collected — and cherished — at precisely a very challenging moment in my life made me feel that she had visited me somehow at the exact time I needed to feel cared about and emboldened. All those feelings of being “ripped apart” and “torn up” inside melted away because, you see, with all of Betty’s sewing items surrounding me there in my foyer I felt suddenly “mended.”

In that moment a feather could have knocked me over because the reality is I don’t sew and never knew how. I have never used any of these types of things that were in this box for me. And Betty knew that about me. Still she made sure she “sent” them. To me. At a time when I needed mending that only one of her sewing items could provide.

Love is the salve that cures all ills. Love heals every wound and calms every anxiety. Love restores and love embraces. I know my sister-in-law loved me very much. Then during her vibrant life. And now in the ever after.

I once read that it is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, that sew people together over a lifetime.

I think my sister-in-law would agree, don’t you?

Feel the love that surrounds you. It is there.


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