Today is 3hugs&blessings Thursdays!
And I am especially excited to be counting my 3 blessings today on the feast of St. John Roberts, a Benedictine Monk from the 1600’s.
Father John’s love of God was deepened by an elderly priest who taught him many things which deepened his faith.
Father John helped thousands of people who fell victim to the plague and he worked day and night to keep the faith alive during a time when Catholics were persecuted mercilessly.
Captured himself he explained, “Were I to live longer, I would continue to do what I have been doing.”
The night before he was to be hanged, he was brought into the company of eighteen other prisoners. They were also suffering for their faith. During their supper together, St. John was full of joy. “Do you think I may be giving a bad example by my joy?” he asked the others with him. “No, certainly not,” one of them replied. “You could not do anything better than to let everyone see the cheerful courage you have as you are about to die for Christ.”
When I was a young girl, like the elderly Priest with St. John, my grandmother taught me many things. Such as: how to garden, how to home-can our fresh produce, how to bake an awesome banana bread and also how to sew! I remember sitting at her old Singer Sewing Machine where she would lay out stacks of old scrap material just so I could practice the fundamentals like sewing straight lines. Gram would lounge on her green velvet couch, watching her favorite Soap Opera The Young & The Restless, a package of black licorice in her hand, while I sat in the adjacent room close enough to hear her verbal instructions, “Your pushing the presser foot too fast!” And “Don’t forget to backstitch!”
My grandmother was never a worldly woman. She enjoyed her small comfortable surroundings and she humbly cleaned the homes of a few prominent families in our hometown. She was not necessarily a ‘huggin’ & kissin’ kind of grandmother but she always managed to show you in her own unique way just how much she loved you by making certain your needs were met!
I remember the time she cheerfully brought home, from one of her cleaning families, a bag of outgrown clothing for my sister & I to look through. There was a green-plaid winter coat that she had in mind specifically for me because she knew I was about the size of the young girl who’d outgrown it. There was a little mending to do but Gram fixed it up quite easily!
I loved that green plaid coat with the matching green faux fur around the hood & cuffed sleeves! I use to think it was because this was such a high quality coat…but as I grew older & wiser I recognized it was the extra love my Gram used to mend it with, stitch by straight stitch, that made it so magically special.
More than the coat itself, it was the joy expressed & the lessons I learned, without a word being spoken, that made it so verily beautiful…all under the guise of love.
Tonight a special broadcast of Dolly Parton’s famous song Coat of Many Colors will air on NBC. And my daughter & I have been ending our (almost) daily conversations reminding the other how many days remain until its airing! This song, which was then (much later) adapted into a children’s book, has a special place in our hearts.
The first time I heard Dolly’s beautiful song, telling of her childhood experience of having received a Coat of Many Colors from her own Mama, the memories of my green plaid coat came flooding back!
Inspired by nostalgia, along with her birthday looming and the desire to wrap my own daughter in a similar coat of love…I set to sewing!
And just like St. John’s joy, Dolly’s mama’s box of rags, and my Gram’s mending, this too would be stitched together with love!
For love is not a feeling…it is an action.
On this hugs n’ 3 blessing thursday I give thanks to:
- my faith, which offers me the finest example of what it means to live out the action of love through the lives of the Saints & the greatest sacrifice of Christ’s life for us.
- my gram and all the domestic skills she passed down to me through her own lived-out example, especially her killer-sewing skills!
- my darling daughter and discovering all the big & small ways she shows love to her students. Such a precious gift to watch your child live out that action of love.
hugs n’ blessings…that you may wrap yourself in a coat of love & remember to courageously share your joy with others!
“Were I to live longer, I would continue to do what I have been doing!”
St. John Roberts