|One of our lovely quilting ladies |
cleaned up at the state and county fair!
There was a woman waiting for me by my office door. We introduced ourselves and she confided about her current struggles. I hear a lot of these down-on-your-luck stories and can smell a bullshitter a mile away. Lucy* is not one of them. She is discouraged and misses work and wishes she had a place to call home. We came up with a flimsy plan with promising resources and then I asked her to get her phone charger out of her truck. "Come down to the Banquet Room so you can charge your phone and start making these connections on a full battery. The quilters are downstairs. They've got banana bread and coffee, too."
She returned with her charger and casually mentioned that she'd been baptized here long ago. "It still smells the same," which, to her seemed a comfort and to me seemed like a poor church marketing strategy. I introduced Lucy to the ladies and left her in good hands.
On my way back up the stairs, I found a Somali woman ringing the doorbell 8,000 times. When I opened the door, she shouted, "Sewing machine, sewing machine!" Ah yes. I remember this woman from ESL classes. She's likes to bridge the language barrier with volume and has a hurricane for a three year old daughter. She had misinterpreted "quilting group" as "free sewing lessons" and was soon inside the door handing me a stroller to take down the stairs. Our gracious ladies received her with the same good hands.
Late morning, I wandered back downstairs to put something in the refrigerator and found a beautiful sight. One of the quilting ladies was laughing with the Somali Shouter, both hunched over a machine and making great progress on a zig zag stitch. Her daughter was napping on a Princess-and-the-Pea-sized stack of quilts in the corner. The other quilting lady had invited Lucy to pin and tie on a big purple quilt. She remembered Lucy's baptism and they had catching up to do. Lucy's eyes smiled with the warm relief of being useful while her phone slowly filled with juice.
Later our youngest quilter dropped by to catch up and share material. She's in her twenties and doesn't have class until late afternoon. Her grandmother once taught her to quilt and she makes the most beautiful quilt tops you've ever seen. And so the Banquet Room filled with hands.
Two quilters began the morning alone in the big Banquet Room. You might have seen them and assumed the ministry was stalled out or dying. You might have been fooled into thinking their hands were doing simple things, but they are not. They are holy and gentle hands that stir up love and hope right under our noses.