Monthly Archives: February 2010

Laying Down One’s Life

Yesterday, seven women “laid down our lives” and gathered in my living room. We left chores behind, we didn’t go out into the beautiful sunshine, we didn’t go to the gym, we didn’t go shopping or mow the lawn or work in the garden.

We knitted and crocheted prayer shawls for our friends who need our prayers.

We talked of many things as we worked, but our focus was the garment we were creating, and eventually the conversation always returned to things of a spiritual nature.

We found connections. Two of the women realized they had met years ago. A different two realized that their social groups overlapped and they had mutual friends. We discovered many things that we all had in common with each other as we prayed, snacked, and talked of this and that, but mostly we knitted beautiful things intended to comfort someone who is in need.

It didn’t feel like much of a sacrifice, as it was a completely enjoyable time, gathering together, sitting and knitting, but I can’t help but reflect on all the things that were likely on each person’s “should do” list for a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. But because comforting our friends in pain is a much higher priority, we all stopped what we were doing and saw to that first.

Not everybody knew of someone in need of a prayer shawl yesterday, so their shawls, scarves or lap robes will be stored until a need arises. Some of us brought photographs of the people for whom we were creating garments infused with love and the intention of healing.

Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). I believe that’s what we did yesterday, and the spiritual reverberations will echo through the generations as these shawls are worn and passed along, and the love will spread laterally through the circuits of time and space.

The next time you receive a handmade gift, take a moment to savor the fact that whoever made it, laid down their life for you.

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Filed under Beauty, connections, Friends, girlfriends, knitting, peace, Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

A February Book Exchange

Well, it took place on the last day of January, but February is such a runt of a month, I think it would be a great time to host a book exchange.

I attended one yesterday, hosted by my friend Christina Lay and a book-loving friend of hers. They had tea and cookies and some delicious teacakes from Germany, and two big tables set up with books that she and her friend were culling from their bookshelves. They put the word out via their respective email lists to come sometime between 2-4pm. The deal was: you can take as many books as you bring.

I arrived about 2:20 with a half dozen books I don’t need any more. I didn’t really intend to bring home more books, as my shelves are currently groaning under the weight of textbooks, so I didn’t consider the strategic effect of timing. If I had arrived later, there would have been more books to mull over, correct? Yet, perhaps they would have been picked over by that time… Christina said the best thing is to host a book exchange. That way you get to see everything that comes in the door.

I left with a small cookbook of sauces and marinades and a novel by Jane Smiley. It was nice to pick up a book and just put it in a bag. No checkout required. Meanwhile, I stood around, munching lebkuchen and discussing our best reads of the year with people I had never met. The only thing we had in common was a rabid love for books, authors, and the need to discuss them.

The hostesses were left with three boxes of books to donate.  Perhaps a few more than the two of them started with, as most people who showed up brought more books than they took.

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

So grab a book-loving friend and make it happen. Or organize a bigger one within your book club.

Fine (free!) literature is an excellent way to meet other readers and refresh your nightstand.

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Filed under Friends, Fun, girlfriends, Reading