• Whether the pitcher hits the rock, or the rock hits the pitcher, it's going to be pretty bad for the pitcher. - Sancho Panza, in Don Quixote

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Changing Mind

I love to hand quilt. It takes a long time to do anything, but I find it very soothing, and I enjoy having the finished product. I make nice quilts. I don't feel any vanity about them, I just love the look and feel of really good quilts, mine or anyone else's, and I can only afford my own.

I recently had the ambition to make a quilt to donate to the annual fund-raising action at my kids' school. We receive something of a discount which is the only way we could afford to send all three to Catholic school, and I would love to do something that would raise the funds we are not able to give in tuition. And maybe I did feel a sense of pride at the thought of my work finally on display.

I mentioned it to the principal. She responded to my offer with a "Oh, that sounds very nice," then quickly went on, "Didn't you donate a blanket to the layette drive during Lent? I wanted to tell you, that really thrilled the Pregnancy Center staff when I brought our things over. They grabbed that up first, they said 'Is this really hand-made?' and they were SO thrilled. I wanted to let you know."

The blanket in question was something I crocheted in a couple weeks time, because the Layette Drive was announced just a few weeks before the contribution deadline. I learned to crochet from my late mother-in-law, and it is also a very soothing activity. It is also a lot more portable than a quilt, but the results don't impress me as much.

But the principal's remarks changed my mind. Literally - I have a new perspective on both craft activities, and while I still love to quilt, I see the crocheting as an offering, something I can do that helps others in a direct, very personal, and real way. It has become a more personally rewarding work.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Suddenly the world changed

Bad news abounds. Natural disasters overtake have the globe, filling the media with the tragedies of strangers. In my own life, people have strokes, become unemployed, fall on general hard times.

I suddenly remembered some time ago prayerfully wondering what could I do, as a Catholic, to 'help the poor and suffering' beyond writing a check to the local St. Vincent de Paul organization. It just hit me today, this is the answer to that prayer. The bad things would be there no matter what, surrounding someone, no matter what, because "the poor we always have with us." What's happened is that God has given me the grace to be that someone.

My unemployed neighbor needs help weeding and watering her garden, and paying for the vegetable plants we are growing; I have the blessing of being the one to help her. My fellow parishioner is ill and unable to attend to his parish responsibilities; I can share the blessing of helping him. My coworker's mother had a stroke; I have the blessing of praying for her and helping him take care of work while he takes care of her.

The world isn't wallowing in misery anymore; I have been given the grace to live my faith more completely.