A Labor of Love
Back in June, “J” and I were in Connecticut, seeing my sister and her family for the first time in over a year and a half. Before we left, T.O. asked me to hold on for a minute; she had something for me. She presented to me a quilt measuring almost six feet tall by four feet wide. I was speechless, and that does not happen often!
Here is the story behind this quilt
T.O. began this particular labor of love when the pandemic started and finished it in December 2020. She utilized primarily leftover materials from previous quilting projects to create amazingly intricate transitions of color around the perimeter; blues and violets to reds and crimson; greens and yellows to oranges and browns. And all of it centered around the cross of Christ.
After Stone-Cold hung it in my office, our new Director of Music Ministry viewed the quilt; she immediately commented that she could see the four seasons stitched into it. I think “G” nailed it! If you move your eyes counter-clockwise starting from the top left corner, you transition from winter to spring to summer to fall, and back to winter again. And the cross of Christ radiates out into all four seasons. Exquisite!
Another detail; the little tag on the backside of the quilt. It declares that this is a gift made with love by T.O. to me. Indeed, this quilt is a labor of love from an artist who seldom expresses her emotions in a flamboyant manner (unlike her mother, who could cry at the drop of a hat), but instead, she shows it through the precise science and artistry that is quilting. I am profoundly humbled.
But there is more behind the story of this quilt! This labor of love was created during four challenging seasons in the life of the artist herself. She began it at the beginning of the pandemic as a distraction from being in lockdown and working from home. Mid-spring, her youngest graduated from college while sitting in their basement watching her commencement on TV (nothing normal in that), and just a couple of weeks later, my sister received news that our mom fell and broke her femur. Over the summer, as the artist labored on, she helped her oldest daughter plan her wedding (which is a little over a month from now), all the while the reports of our mother’s declining health came in, and there was nothing we could do because even my father couldn’t see her. On 2020.07.24, our mother died alone in a hospice facility that wouldn’t even allow a chaplain in to pray with her because of lock-down. Soon, the artist would be the first to travel to Florida to be with our Dad, and she soldiered on in this labor of love even though there was no funeral or memorial service to provide closure. The leaves began to turn, the holidays approached, and the finishing touches were falling into place. Just before Christmas (and days before our mom’s birthday), the artist signed her work. Imagine the focus!
So on the first anniversary of our mom’s death (and Chipster’s 61st birthday), I honor my kid sister, the artist! Is it possible she is the new “matriarch” of the family?
Lord, thank you for providing this artist with such gifts that speak into your creation. Thank you for giving us a woman who doesn’t cry at the drop of a hat yet definitely knows how to express her love. Thank you for giving us a kid sister. Amen!