Grandma read her Bible every day. She cherished those words of Psalm Twenty-three. With delight, I find that she provided a way for us to physically cling to those words in the days and weeks and months and years to come.
Grandma loved flowers, she loved her church, she loved her dogs, she loved her family and she loved to sew. For each of her children and their children, and their children, and other family and friends she made dolls, potholders, and… quilts. Each one pieced together by her hand. She worked on her last quilt at age 96.
Into each of those quilts we find the words of that psalm symbolically emblazoned. Those words were part of all she did, as God so lovingly knit them into her heart over the years; with every fresh sunrise and stunning sunset, with each beaming smile and falling tear, every sparkling joy and shadowing sorrow, each blossoming flower and obstinate ****, every delightful birth and parting death, and each victory and defeat.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”
So she takes some cloth - scraps from favorite dresses of sunshine yellow, powder blue and rose pink, and with experienced hands stitches patches of provision and contentment into the heart of that quilt that is ours.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures...”
In go some bits of green with a little floral print and we have something to wrap up in for moments of rest in the midst of our tumultuous lives.
“He leadeth me beside still waters...”
She picks up some clear bright blue strips and with them provides some satisfaction amidst all of our frustrations.
“He restoreth my soul...”
She understands that so, she makes sure the quilt is just the right size and lets us know that we are worth the effort and time and love that God focused on her throughout the years.
She stitches and sews the words...
“He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for His name sake...”
As she joins each piece to another and then to another until they make a square, and one square to another until she has a block, and one block to another until the quilt needs a border; and with that border, she frames for us a picture of what happens when there is a plan. She wants us to know that God has a plan for each of us, that there is a right way.
With the words...
“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me...”
She adds piece upon piece until that quilt is part of who she is, and then she gives it to us, each one, and we have a part of her that tells us who we are. That she is with us, as God is with her. No matter where we go or how far we range, how high we soar or how low we fall, her quilt reminds us that she is part of who we are. She wants us to know that she found her security in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grandma wants each of us to be that secure.
“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me...”
It is amazing how soft and full and pleasant Grandma’s quilts are to the touch. They are quilts of substance. All those many different pieces of cloth of diverse sources and materials come together to make a quilt that brings us comfort while laying across our lap, or when we curl up in it when a chill is in the air. Her quilt comforts us because it gives us a boundary that is safe. We are wrapped up safe and warm in here, and the cold world is out there. In the same way Grandma found that God gives that same sense of comfort - boundaries that we are safe within. Comfort comes for each of us when we wrap ourselves up within the boundaries that God has prepared for us.
“You prepareth a table before me in the presence of my enemies,
you anoint my head with oil, my cup runneth over,
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life...”
Grandma learned long before she began her hundredth year that, as bad as things often got and as bleak as the future often seemed; in proper perspective, God had abundantly and mercifully blessed her. In all those years that she lived alone and independently, she found that God was ever present with her. He was her constant companion. Her quilt provides us now with that sense of her abiding love and presence in our lives, and points to God’s constant presence in hers. When we wrap ourselves up in our quilts made by Grandma’s own two hands, we can put things into perspective; realizing anew that we, indeed, have been blessed. If nothing else, we can know that we have been touched in such a special way as to have someone who loves us make us each our own personal quilt.
“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Alleluia! To know that Grandma today is safe and secure in the arms of God is a comfort that we cherish. That body, worn down by a century of living here on earth, God will make fit for eternity.
How does that relate to her quilts? It’s all about belonging. She has an eternal home. She belongs there, now. Having been given a quilt by someone who made it especially for you, you can know a little about the sense of belonging that she is experiencing with the saints today. It says that you are part of the person who made it and that they are part of you. You belong.
There are many, many people in this world who do not know and will never know what it means to belong. Your mama, grandmother, great grandmother has given you that gift; the gift of belonging. She also wants you to know that only God, through Jesus Christ, can give you that gift for eternity.
More than anything else today Grandma’s prayer for you is that you will find the quilt of God’s love that is found in Jesus Christ. Her hope for you, in the days, weeks, months and years to come, is that you will find contentment, rest, satisfaction, renewal, security, perspective, comfort - and belonging; as you curl up with the quilt she made, just for you.
©2001 Michael S. Davis, An Eulogy by her Grandson
In Memory of Grandma,
Mrs. Beulah Bachman Bradley
December 29, 1901 - August 2, 2001
I think this fits in as poetic in broadly defined way. It is an eulogy using a poem (Psalm) of David as a framework that I did for my grandmother. Tell me what you think.