Daughter, Son-in-law, and the Little Guy were coming to visit -- yay! -- and the guest room needed tidying and more space to accommodate LG's portable crib. We moved the little linen cupboard to make more room and I decided to sort through the bed linens and blankets. Which turned into sorting all of the linens throughout the house... Anyone know "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie"? I felt a bit like the Mouse, only with bed linens.
Today we have only two beds -- many years ago, at the height of our bedness, we had five beds and a crib. Today we have six sets of sheets, ten quilts of varying sizes, two bedspreads, three fleece blankets, three duvet covers to cover the three duvets, three baby blankets and more pillows than I care to count -- the Boss would say pillows & baskets are my real problem! At the height of our bedness, when there were six children in our home, we DID NOT have three times the bed linens we have today! Where did all these quilts and blankets come from? And why have I not noticed their occupancy in my cupboards?
Two of the quilts have sentimental value: one I made before heading off to college -- the Boss loves that thing -- and one was created by my Grandmother. Grandma made one for each of her eight children when they married. Given that my Mother's wedding could have been a shotgun wedding -- Mom and Dad met young, fell in love and, if the town official who granted wedding licenses had not offered congratulations to my Grandfather outside City Hall (very small town), they would have eloped -- I'm sure the quilt was given to my Mom months after the at-home wedding.
Grandma's quilt is completely hand-sewn and one can only wonder at the prayers she must have stitched into each block. Now Mom's quilt is not the Double Wedding Ring pattern -- Mom is next to the youngest and I'm sure that by the time this quilt was crafted from Grandma's rag bag the no-more-wear-left hand-me-down clothing had been depleted significantly. But remembering my Grandmother and looking at this quilt nearly sixty years later, she must have poured her heart into its modified pattern. And it is precious to me -- this quilt speaks family and home, love and security.
The other quilts and blankets? Meh. So why do I have them -- I know the Boss did not buy them! We have an abundance of blankets which are not being used to keep anyone warm or provide beauty for the soul. Why would I need so many quilts? We did not move this much linen to our new home six years ago -- what is going on?
Ann Voskamp shares her journey toward eucharisteo -- grace, thanksgiving, joy -- in one thousand gifts and it's taken me the better part of a year to get to chapter 8, "how will he not also?", which appears to be perfect timing to appraise the state of my heart in light of my quilt problem. Granted I did not know I needed to scrutinize my heart when tidying up the linen cupboard -- heaven forbid there is some sort of connection between cleaning the bathroom and the condition of my soul!
"Perhaps the opposite of faith is not doubt. Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear. To lack faith isn't as much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God as fear and distrust that there is a good God."
When I read Ann's writing I saw in my mind's eye the quilts and blankets spread out in multiple rooms on cleaning day and the thought floated alongside, "Does my over-abundance of quilts mean I'm afraid? It's just the two of us and I'm no longer directly responsible for my children's well-being or safety. Will God take care of them?" Aggg! Well, that set me back on my heels.
And I've been wrestling with this unease, but know it's not too much of a leap to confess the quiet, slow accumulation of quilts and blankets has been an unconscious effort to continue to provide love and security for my family as our circumstances change -- omgosh, it's my empty-nestedness moment! I thought I missed that one. Our daughters have completed college, started their professional lives, married -- both in the same year, thank you -- and begun to build their own families since we moved to this home. I know it's not my job to keep them safe, secure in the same way as when they were children or teens, but it seems to have taken my heart some time to catch up to this knowledge.
I'm sure there are other ways my heart has been in the slow lane, but the first step to catching up -- share the quilts and blankets with others who need love and warmth, family and security.