Wrapped in love and prayer

March 5, 2009 | My Jottings

I’m a pretty sentimental person, and I treasure the gifts people have given me. A ceramic fish made by my daughter Carolyn hangs in my office and all I have to do is look at it and my eyes fill. Cardinals in all forms perch all over my house, photos in pewter frames of people I love are placed everywhere, blue and white mugs by the dozen rest on shelves all over my kitchen walls, and books of all sizes are piled high and low. I’ll sometimes pick up a book and see the inscription penned inside by a friend twenty years ago, and let myself be transported back to that time of our lives. Or I’ll often choose a blue and white cup just because I want to think of the loved one that gave it to me, pray for them and “feel the love” as I drink from the item they selected just for me. I continue to be moved and grateful years later for the gifts that have graced my life.

I’m in awe of people who are really thoughtful gift-givers. People who have paid attention so well to another person, that they know just what to give them for a present. All three of my daughters are thoughtful and observant gift-givers; I am a terrible gift-giver so I don’t know where they learned this skill. I usually buy books or gift certificates for people and feel a little embarrassed that I’m not the kind of person who knows just the right style of wall plaque or tea towels or doo-dads that will go perfectly in each friend’s house. I don’t usually know what kind of earrings someone likes best, whether or not they still collect Fiesta-ware or Spode, and chances are I’m not sure what someone’s signature perfume is either. So when I see others who excel at this kind of attentive thoughtfulness, I’m always humbled and touched. I would like to be a more thoughtful gift-giver.

I received a gift recently that touched my heart so deeply I knew I wanted to write about it. It came in the mail, unannounced and unexpected; a wrapped package from my dear friend Kay, whom I met and have grown to love through Community Bible Study.

Kay has recently taken up knitting, and decided to make some scarves as gifts. I opened the wrapped package and lifted out a gorgeous, burgundy colored scarf, just the right width and length. The knitting was flawless. I wound it around my neck as I oohed and aahed, and reached for the card Kay enclosed. She wrote:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Here is something
Made just for you

The wool was painted
By your eldest with care
I knit it with love
Each stitch, a prayer

This is when the tears began to flow, because I realized that Kay had made this scarf for me with yarn hand-dyed by my oldest daughter Sharon, who dreamed up and used to run a yarn business in Maryland, called Three Irish Girls. I sat down and examined it, fingering the soft and now doubly precious scarf, and pondered all that had to go into this moment. I pictured the yarn being meticulously hand-dyed in Sharon’s studio outside Washington D.C., and the thoughtfulness it took for Kay to order the yarn from Sharon, knowing it would bless me in such a tangible way. I envisioned Kay sitting evenings with her family in their beautiful lake home, with this scarf forming row by methodical row on her needles. And I was overwhelmed with awe and gratitude that my faithful friend prayed for me over and over as she crafted this rich and soft piece, which warms and comforts me in a way no other scarf does.

scarf1

Living in northern Minnesota gives me ample opportunities to wear scarves, as we have cold weather a full seven months of the year. And now that I have short hair I reach for them even more. But this scarf is extra-special. I love everything about it. The colors, the feel, the size, the stitch, the dyer, the knitter…

And when I put it on, I feel wrapped in love and prayer.

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