It’s hard to break up a house, my neighbor’s children are now dividing and tossing, but very slowly as they have much work and many memories to sort and ponder. I didn’t actually know this neighbor, except only that she gave cans of soda and big juice boxes for Halloween night, what a GREAT reputation, one for the ages, according to my children!
She passed away last month, age 80 plus, declining, after living in her house for probably 50 plus years… In a roundabout way, I was given her classic embroidered tablecloth doilies which apparently didn’t make the “keep pile”. I washed, bleached and ironed them. How beautiful. Maybe I will someday find them a home, simple designs and simple stitches but hard work and beautiful examples of a craft of old… recent old, but still, those times seemingly would have felt more still than life now.
I always embroidered as a kid, at Grandma’s house, so did all my male cousins and brother, a great rainy or snowy day activity. Sit down and make cross stitches on a stamped pattern. I still have a pillowcase that my Grandmother made for me, a doll with a pink doily skirt. I have a little duck swatch made by my brother. All these are tucked away. Mentally I can see myself sitting on the 1970’s couch practicing my stitches, I can feel it in my fingers.
Women learn and work in double time, even when resting – they sat down to practice their alphabets and numbers in olden times of the 1700’s and 1800’s, it was part of their education to practice their stitches in “samplers”. These doilies from my neighbor are decorative, and I have now pressed and folded them. As classic Grandma’s stitches, what do they represent? They represent her hands working while her body was resting. They are Grandma’s “DOWN TIME”, Grandma’s precious little “me time”. Grandma surely had VERY LITTLE “down time”.
My own sewing Grandma had a farm and 5 kids, 6 grandkids, her down time was earned. My Grandma was not known to have any religious background, but I can imagine that her thoughts were filled with her busy life when she sat stitching away and sorting through her thoughts. Grandma’s stitches are her own way of thinking thru life. Grandma could also “think work” while others or the TV talked in the background. Grandma could have some time to just be.
Looking at the precious french knots on these, I know they are a mini art that required practice. Looking at the vibrant colors 50 plus years later, these are simple beautiful. They lasted 50 years, but won’t last forever.
Look what holds up best in time, not Grandma’s stitches but her prayers for our lives. Prayer lasts forever in time. I can imagine how Grandma might say: someday my child will pass this to their children... Someday perhaps my grandchildren will know how much work their ancestors put into them having a better life… Yes, any child to raise and any stitch to sew might represent precious time that this particular or any Grandma would have welcomed into time to pray. We are blessed with things and lives our Grandparents would have dreamed about. How strongly their prayers worked. Our lives are vibrant and fulfilled in ways they wished and worked.
How could each stitch we NOW make in our own mental downtime become a prayer? For now and the future. Whether sewing machine or embroidery stitch, whether passing thought or purposeful practice, mentally we can meet with our Holy Stitch-maker every day… God has knit our hearts together before we are born, He knows us and we are to know Him. He can run His Graces over our lives in a Way that feel even better than when we run our hands over embroidery stitches. He can admire His Work. He can see and feel His Love placed in our lives. Can we?
The Lord can see simple stitches which He has combined to make an elaborate pattern we call life, and He can see deep in thru time, where He has made a mesh of beautiful moments. We can also appreciate that there are people who work hard tidying up the frayed ends of life to set things right for all. Thru it all, God provides His Word as a crucial Healing Thread.
How hard my Grandma (and Grandpa) worked, all my family, and how amazing stitching downtime was work too. How precise and precious all these little stitches are, and even the backs are neat, secured to endure. How my memories secure me to know that my amazing ancestors worked so very hard to secure my future and my heritage with their background of work ethic.
And of course we are to remember how short earthly life is, how all threads will be removed from any deep tangles of life and reset into His Kingdom. “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40.
We are secured, eternally, thru Jesus, held for preservation into our Father’s House. How Holy Spirited our Creator works in His Way. How precise and precious. How carefully we are given into this world for this time – “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2
Keep stitching your life while weaving His Story. Keep praying His Legacy for Your children. Keep the faith, for we are all are already stitched into His Kingdom.