Wednesday, September 7, 2011


My great grandmother sat there all alone
In her room filled with pictures and clutters of home
I asked her one day of her long blessed life
And she began a long story of her joy and her strife
But before she began she reached carefully behind
And pulled out a quilt with her strong aged hand
This quilt I had seen in pieces and parts
But I never had asked what had been at the heart
Now I could see it was magnificently whole
And that each tiny section was a part of her soul
There was linen and lace, there was denim and cotton
There was chintz and muslin, crepe, silk and satin
Each tiny piece was so carefully stitched
Into patterns and sections with colors so rich
She told me of hundreds of quilts she’d created
How each’d served a purpose – and how many they’d aided
Some were to celebrate a birth or a wedding
Some for harsh winters, a warm, comfort bedding
And still others were quilted for dear ones passed on
A grandmother, a father, or an infant child gone
But this one was special – she had saved it for last
To finish when old, to record the past
Each little section told of her special journey
Each tiny piece had its lesson and learning
But before she embarked on her precious life story
I had in my mind one curious query,
“Why was each quilt such a work of art, {I asked}
When so beautifully done, such an enormous task.”
Then great grandma spoke words I’ll never forget,
“We created the beauty so our hearts would not break.”
In an instant a chord was struck in my heart
One I never had heard, one that never will part
The beauty created from the dust and the ashes
A weave of life pieces into radiant sashes
From bits of this, from pieces and parts
Creating in the end the fabric of hearts
And the beauty that’s left behind us will tell
If we endured to endure or if we endured it well
With my finding so new and my heart all aglow
I sat at her feet now – her voice soft and low
And heard her sweet story, the quilt in her hands
I saw pieces and parts as across her hand ran
Over mountains so high, through darksome valleys so low
Through the sorrow and heartache, through the joys of her soul.

Then satin and lace, a bride to be
Eternity stretched past all she could see
She forward must go, leaving family of old
To build her own family, her new love to hold
At the crossroads of life, she sang a new song
Love’s joys bittersweet … as new joy came along

And then a new dawning took place in her soul
All of life took new meaning, when new life she did hold
A baby, amazing, how could God give such gifts
And toward heaven, in gratitude, her babe she did lift
And promised the Lord he would someday return
That she’d teach him and love him, and of God he would learn
Then tenderly she rocked him and taught him of light
Singing songs of the angels all through the night.

Then all at once my great grandma was crying
Then laughing, then reeling, then giggling, then sighing
The quilt story now was progressing through children
The parenting portion that was always bewildering
And, oh, the great stories she told of those days
Of wrestling boys and all their rascally ways
And of angels and fairies and princes, princesses
Of costumes, surprises and pink girlie dresses
She spoke of uniqueness, that was etched in each soul
Of magnificent traits that created the whole
And how direction and guidance were part of our charge
But how children, being preexistent, were like moving a barge
How predicting their outcome, one always could try
But ultimately you throw up your hands with a sigh.

I watched her hands now move across some dark colors
I saw she was trembling, saw her eyes grow much duller
She spoke of the hardship of day to day living
How hard it was sometimes to keep giving and giving
She said she was strengthened each day from on high
Until all at once she felt her heart die
Her daughter, so sweet and still oh so young
Was taken away before life’s song was sung
It was then that she wondered how to cope through the black
It was then that she wondered if God had now turned his back
But gathering her all she reached deeper and higher
And found He was there, a light brighter than fire
That warmed her and healed her and taught her new strength
Brought peace to her soul and joy at length

And then a huge section of sunrises and sets
That brought on a myriad of joys and upsets
There were marriages, grandchildren, the joy of posterity
A fulness of life, a time of great gaiety
College and missions, children coming and going
Then suddenly it stopped, without anyone knowing
They kept going and going ‘til no one was left
And then much too quiet was the empty nest.

Then bright color patches, a weave of friends
A lifetime of loved ones – bonds that never end
The sharing together – the strengthening power
Of friendships that deepen hour by hour
And how in the end when all is said and done
It’s the memories preserved from those days in the sun
That brought light to the eye and a tear of gladness
And a strange sort of happy, along with a sadness.

Finally we came to the end of her story
And I looked at great grandma, her countenance of glory
And I knew in an instant she had a message profound
After such a great life, I knew she had found
The answer to living, I knew it was there.
So I quietly asked her – her soul to bare
She got so excited, for of this she was sure
“It’s the moment,” she said, simple and pure
It’s the moment, each moment – one by one
To be lived to the fullest – like a race to be won
Each moment the greatest, the greatest of all
And that was her message, her final call
And there it was before my eyes
Written in her quilt, her message so wise
There they all were, moments lived so well
A brilliant life – such a story to tell
So right then and there I took the secret to heart
And vowed that my quilt would right from the start
Be filled with great moments - each blessed one
The fabric of my life woven in the sun.

Written by Karen Nelson

No comments: