Today is a 3hugs&blessings Thursday!
And I am especially excited to be counting my 3 blessings today – while celebrating the feast of St. John Roberts, a Benedictine Monk from the 1600’s.
Father John often spoke how his love of God was deepened by an elderly priest who taught him many things which deepened his own faith.
Father John was inspired to help thousands of people who fell victim to the plague and he worked tirelessly 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, who 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.”
Just like the elderly Priest who mentored St. John, my grandmother taught me many important things, while I was a little girl.
Such as: how to garden, how to home-can our freshly grown produce, how to bake an awesome banana bread and also how to sew! I still vividly 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 with 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!” Or “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 always 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 fancy high-quality coat, better than any I’d ever worn…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 – 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. My daughter & I have been ending our (almost) daily phone conversations reminding the other how many days remain until its airing! This song – which was 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 own childhood experience of having received a Coat of Many Colors from her Mama, the memories of my beloved green plaid coat came flooding back!
Inspired by nostalgia and the desire to wrap my own daughter in a similar coat of love…I set to sewing!
So just like St. John’s joy, Dolly’s mama’s box of rags and my own Gram’s mending – this too would be stitched together with love!
For love is not a feeling…it is an action.
So it is -on this particular 3hugs&blessings Thursday- that I give thanks for:
- my faith – which offers me the finest example of what it means to live out the action of love, as the Saints have done before me.
- my Gram and all the domestic skills she passed down to me through her own lived-out example – especially her talented sewing skills!
- my darling daughter who daily shows -in big & small ways – how much she loves her very special students.
hugs n’ blessings to all those who wrap themselves in a coat of love & remember to courageously share their joy with others!
“Were I to live longer, I would continue to do what I have been doing!”
St. John Roberts