When I sew I think of my mother. When I sew something from cloth that used to be something else, I REALLY think of my mother. This week I made shopping bags from an old bed sheet. In my mind, she was with me and beside me, grinning her head off with pride. Mom was the Queen of Reuse before the word was invented.
My parents experienced the Great Depression. They had both experienced hunger as kids and young people. They did not waste ANYTHING. We shopped at the Goodwill and Salvation Army. Mom would find a dress for herself or one of us girls, make sure it was in good shape, and then she'd bring it home and give it a make-over. And we would have a "new" dress to wear to school. (When I was a chid, girls did not wear pants to school!)
I learned a lot from my mom. How to make inexpensive meals that stretch over several days. How to sew doll clothes
from fabric scraps. And how to be kind to everyone. Mom didn't just know how to make old stuff new, she believed that every person had dignity, was dearly loved by God, and deserved the opportunity to start over, to be renewed. She and dad took in foster kids. They'd done it for a long time. And sometimes one of those kids, now grown up, would come to visit.
One day a young man showed up in our driveway. Mom went outside and I followed her. "Hi Johnny," she said, and he gave her a kiss through the open car window. "Are you on the run?" Johnny shook his head. "Then come on in." Johnny had been in and out of jail for most of his life. If he was on parole-not breaking parole, or running from the cops-he was allowed to visit. Mom had cared for Johnny as a little boy.
Mom was kind to Johnny, didn't question, other than the initial inquiry about his status with the law. Johnny was welcomed in. Mom fed him. She got a jar lid out and let him smoke. She listened as he told her about all his wild plans for the future. I remember Mom putting her hand on his. "Johnny, the Lord Jesus has a good plan for your life." That's all. No pressure. Just kindness and concern for his body and soul. She didn't lecture. And she new he'd probably end up in prison again soon.
To my mother there was no such thing as throw-away cloth. It could always be cut and sewn into something new. If a bird crashed into a window and was still alive, she brought it into the warmth of our home and nursed it back to health. Most importantly, and most impressive to me as a little girl, there was no such thing as a throw-away human being.. My mother had the biggest heart of anyone I know. She was not racist or bigoted or judgmental. She loved Jesus. She wanted everyone to love Jesus. Even the ex-con.
I'm quite good a sewing, thanks to Mom. I hope that I am like her in the other ways as well. Dear God, help me to be like Mom, who mirrored your love to everyone.
I am a Catholic wife, mom and grandma. In 1995, after Bible college and a few years as an Evangelical Missionary, I was received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. These are my personal musings on Scripture, prayer, and living close to Jesus.