The Gift of Caring
I received a gift the other day. It was unexpected and it wasn't something that I thought I needed, but I was wrong.
It was a beautifully knitted shawl; made by a group of women. (I'm assuming this because it is my experience that most knitters are women.) I don't know who these women are. I have an idea of who one or more of them might be, but I don't know who knitted it. I don't know if it was made by one person, or if they shared the task. All I know is that it was gifted to me as part of the group's prayer shawl ministry. (Please note this photo does not do it justice.)
I knew of the group, but never considered becoming a member. For one, they meet during a day and although I could call the hour that they knit, pray and (I'm assuming again) talk, the day they meet is the one that I have the most weekly meetings, so it wasn't really possible for me. The other reason is that I’m not really a knitter. I have knitted in the past. I mean the real past; before I was married. I mostly made scarves (because they are pretty easy) and I did make one afghan for myself. It was made of different colored squares of yarn...light green, a darker tealish green, light blue, a darker (not navy blue), light pink, dark pink, lavender and a deep purple. I knit the squares, but it was my mom who sewed them together (I believe). I can vaguely remember how to knit or purl, but I don't remember how to cast on or off, which would start and end the process. The afghan was nothing special; just something to thrown over my twin sized bed. I still have it and it has grown so that now it almost (but not quite) covers our Queen sized bed.
When I think of a prayer shawl ministry, I think of women knitting for people who are seriously ill. Certainly these shawls would be made and distributed to those who were hospitalized or terminally ill. I am neither of these. Why would I need a shawl?
But I have been dealing with some stress in my life. I think that much has been obvious from my posts over the past couple of weeks. My mother was in the hospital for a while. I had to stay with my dad to help out and then stayed on when she got home to help out for a few days. I had to find someone who could help them out. My son's fall production was coming up and as Co-President of the parent's organization that supports the group I had a meeting to run a week beforehand and then I had to oversee the concession stand for the 3 days of the show. (And I HAD to see the show. A show that was interactive and partially improv which meant every time it was performed it was different.) And then there was/is work. We are in the 4th quarter of the year which is always chaotic. To be honest, I don't know how I got to November 23rd because the last time I looked it was the beginning of the month. Truly the days have flown and run into each other. I honestly don't know what day is what or what END if up!
One member (or maybe more) of the group knew that I was dealing with all of this chaos. So I am guessing that it was she who decided I would be a good candidate for this shawl.
Again, I never thought I needed this, but now I know I was wrong. When I was given this shawl, it was wrapped around me and a prayer given which in part said: "This show as made just for you. Each stitch a prayer that you find comfort, hope and healing." I DO find comfort in knowing that this was made just for me. (It also happens to have two of my favorite colors woven into it: purple and blue.)
This shawl is an all-important reminder that I am not alone. When I am scared, depressed or angry, I can put it over my shoulders and find comfort. It can be the hug that I need; filled with love.
This shawl was a physical gift, but the true gift was the one of caring. Of a group actively praying and providing comfort to me. The gift of care is one that we all need...sharing it is sharing grace, love and compassion.
To the group that made this shawl; thank you for your gift. The physical shawl will live on my dress; your gift of caring will forever live in my heart.