Thursday, May 17, 2012

A prayer-full gift

Three weeks ago, the postman came to my door with a package. I was expecting some books, but he handed me a soft parcel. I opened it, and was deeply, deeply touched.

Inside was a beautiful, soft, handmade purple prayer shawl from my dearest friend. She knows all too well how I've been struggling with unexplained dizziness for the past seven months, and her church has had a prayer shawl ministry for the past five years in which she participates. So Cathy went looking for some soft but weighty yarn that spoke to her of me, took it to a meeting of the prayer shawl group, and she and the other women prayed together over their yarn and needles for the people for whom they would be knitting.

Cathy took her yarn home and prayed even more as she knit 3 and purled 3 (the number 3 has all sorts of holy connotations)... on airplanes, during car trips, and at home. She fastened on tassels, and took the completed shawl to one more meeting, where she and the other women passed around the shawls and prayed for their recipients one more time. And then Cathy mailed it to me. It took only two days to arrive, which must be a record for Canada Post.

I took the package to my room and was, admittedly, a weepy mess for the half hour it took me to read through the package's contents. My friend's prayer-full gift brings tears to my cheeks again as I type this, my shawl around my shoulders. This has been a sort of difficult illness for someone who has always been healthy as a horse, and used to living life at a certain pace. I constantly feel like I've had one glass of wine too many, a bit too unsteady to drive or empty the dishwasher. Shopping and other activities can be difficult, as I tire quickly in visually stimulating places, and often end up nauseous. The good news is that I'm awaiting an MRI and have an appointment for assessment at the local Vestibular Rehabilitation Clinic tomorrow, so there's hope. But it may also be that I'm simply a middle-aged person with Juvenile Diabetes, and I'll just be a dizzy dame for the rest of my days. My doctor was almost as unhappy as I was when she said so. We're all praying that she's wrong!

So this gift, this shawl, has been an almost constant companion to me since it came. It's like a warm hug, a blessed reminder that I am loved and held, not only in Cathy's prayers, but in the prayers of many others, too, who don't hesitate to let me know that they are praying for me, and have put my name on all sorts of prayer lists. Perhaps it's because of Cathy's shawl and Rebecca's oil and Claire's painting and everyone else's prayers that my spirits are mostly good and I'm still functioning, albeit more slowly than usual.

If you're a knitter, or know someone who might be interested in starting a prayer shawl ministry, Susan Jorgenson and Susan Izard wrote a book all about it called Knitting into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl Knitting Ministry (Morehouse Publishing 2003, ISBN 0-8192-1976-3). I'm not a knitter, but this experience tempts me to become one! A simple thank you doesn't begin to cover it, Cathy! And thanks to my readers for your prayers, too. Thanks to God's goodness and your prayers, I am (mostly) well.

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