I was just sitting there at dinner, minding my own business, that last evening of the women’s retreat–beside an empty chair. A woman I’d never met “happened” by, and asked if she might sit there. Certainly, I said, and as we ate, we chatted. Turned out, she was director of women’s events.
Because I make quilts, I commented on the framed patchwork on the walls. Becky (the director) said these blocks came from Quilt Weekend, held every year. If I liked patchwork, I might like to come to the next one, in just two weeks.
Absently, I “mm-mm”-ed.
Fabric and Fiber
She told more about the weekend, and its customary “Quilt Talk” that turned the focus toward the gospel. This year a short drama would depict Rehab and Ruth, as mother- and daughter-in-law, planning a fictional memory quilt symbolizing God’s grace in their lives–for newborn Obed (ancestor of Jesus).
She mentioned how a weaving instruction session she’d attended made her want to include some fiber info in the Talk, but that she didn’t know enough to do it herself. Since I also spin and weave, and had learned about preparing fiber, I told her about how awful retted flax (for linen making) can smell–so maybe that’s why no one searched Rehab’s roof for Israelite spies.
“I always wondered about that,” she said, looking at me with an attention I couldn’t quite figure out.
“I’d really like you to come to Quilt Weekend,” she added, as we left the table after dinner.
But I surely didn’t need another retreat so soon. So I just said something lame like, “We ought to get together sometime.” And walked away–but with an uncomfortable feeling that I wasn’t doing something God wanted.
Back in my room, it kept nagging; so finally I prayed, “Lord, if You want me to come back here in two weeks, would You just bring Becky right to me tomorrow morning? Then I’ll say something to open the door”
Early next day, as I sat drinking coffee alone in the lobby, who do you suppose was the first person to come walking past me?
Only I just stammered, “Uh… hi,” and she passed by, leaving me more uncomfortable than before.
But a moment later, she reappeared, bearing flowers for an arrangement somewhere. This time I asked about Quilt Weekend.
She wanted to show me some pictures. After lunch. (When I was supposed to be leaving, with the group I’d come with.)
While my group waited later, and I perused her Quilt Weekend scrapbook, I knew. All right, I said, I’d come back.
Then she told me: She’d prayed for someone to come tell about exactly the kind of things I’d discussed the previous night!
So I went. And before I did, I worked hard condensing my info bit, constructing a display, and practicing drop-spindling (not a polished art with me!) When my husband heard my talk was limited to about ten minutes and wasn’t even to include the gospel, he exclaimed, “You mean you’re doing all this work, and driving all the way over there, to stay overnight, just for that?”
“It does seem crazy,” I replied weakly, “but I think God wants me to.”
Confirmation came on the Sunday between. A visiting missionary spoke at church: Nothing in his first two years of foreign work had turned out as he’d planned–and he had worked so hard. Finally, throwing up his hands, he decided just to “go play basketball,” just because he loved it. And then, through men wanting him on their team, and their playing together, the ministry finally opened up.
That same Sunday I also “just happened” to read something related to the parable of the talents, in which the master commended servants faithful in a little assignment, and put them in charge of a greater one (Mt 25:14-30).
That’s what happened in this case, too. I went and did my ten-minute blip. And two years later Becky asked me to do the whole quilt talk. In it, three historic scripture-themed patchwork blocks I sewed told the gospel.
Anything else? Well, in a couple of weeks (with God’s help!) I’m scheduled to demonstrate, at a VBS, drop-spindle spinning, as people did in Jesus’ time and culture. And before long I hope to be “spinning a yarn” or two of another kind: parables of sheep and goats, spinning and weaving, and living and dyeing–here, on this blog.
Hobbies heavenly? Not necessarily.
But not necessarily not, either!