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Home : Community : Customer Gallery : I'd like to share the story of my first...
 

Customer Projects - Get Inspired

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I'd like to share the story of my first...
Created By: LESLIE Y SEESE

I'd like to share the story of my first prayer shawl. I was travelling, visiting my sister in Mississippi almost 3 years ago. I got an e-mail from my pastor who had heard that a woman in town wanted to start a shawl ministry. While I was with my sister, she had just returned from visiting with her best friend, Maryann, who was just diagnosed with mesothelioma, the type of lung cancer that comes from asbestosis. Maryanne's father had died of the same diagnosis and she knew what the future held for her. She knew there was no cure and that time would be short and difficult. I came home and immediately joined at the first meeting of the shawl ministry to knit a purple shawl of peace for Maryann. I knew that she was resigned to her destiny and her daughter begged her to take every treatment available, traditional and alternative. She was not ready to let her mother rest peacefully through the inevitable. Maryann tried chemo and a few other therapies but continued to decline over the next few months. I was a slow knitter and had never purled before so I spent a lot of time praying for peace for Maryann and her daughter. Finally, I finished my purple shawl, having prayed for peace in every single stitch. I took it to the gathering and we blessed the shawl and the recipient. Each month we gather our completed and nearly completed shawls onto a round table with a white pillar candle in the center. We each touch a piece of each shawl while on our knees in prayer around the table. We pray for the recipients and the knitters and all who love those individuals. I had told my co-knitters and crocheters that I really prayed for peace between Maryann and her daughter so that their brief time together could be quality time and filled with love and not disagreement. That was on a Tuesday evening. We all signed the card of blessing that we tie to each shawl. Wednesday morning I shipped the shawl from Oregon to Wisconsin. Neither my sister, nor Maryann knew anything of this shawl. Sunday morning my sister received a call from Maryann in tears. She said that her daughter called early that morning. She had awaken with an overwhelming sense of peace and calm about her mother's decision to not take any more treatment. She told her mother that she wanted only quality time and felt total peace in her heart and unconditional love for her mother. Of course my sister had to call me and tell me because she knew I had been praying for this for her friend. Monday, my phone rang again, from my sister, in tears, telling me of her phone call that morning from Maryann. The UPS delivery person had just delivered this box to her door and she opened it with much wonder at why I would be sending her a package. She read the card and my prayer for her and she collapsed in gratitude and tears of joy for the peace that God had provided to her daughter and herself. She wore the shawl often and at the end of her life she took her last breath wearing the purple shawl of peace with her daughter at her side. I had included a note that once Maryann was done with the shawl and her husband and daughter felt the time was right, I would appreciate it if they would pass it on to my sister. Well, somehow they packed it away and when my sister asked about it, Maryann's husband couldn't find it anywhere. Months passed and along came Hurricane Katrina. My sister lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and her whole town of Pass Christian was wiped off the map. She lost everything she owned. Her home was reduced to a slab. Everything was gone with the wind and the waves. More loss than one should be asked to endure; her best friend and then her home and all her belongings. Fast forward to a year later, living in a FEMA trailer, facing total devastation every day and struggling to keep her attitude positive and hopeful, out of the blue, Jeannine received a package from Maryann's husband. She opened the box and there was the purple shawl of peace. He had found it and the card that had been signed and attached to it and knew that the time was right for her to be able to wrap herself in it and know rest and peace. She tearfully called and thanked me for it. I just returned from my 5th trip to Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina though this time I did not take any work gloves or work clothes. I was going to stay in my sister's new home that many had helped build. I carried my suitcase up the stairs to my bedroom and there it was spread across the foot of the bed. The purple shawl of peace. I, too, shed tears of gratitude for the gift of this shawl. I wrapped myself in the shawl giving thanks for the safety of my family and the gift of hospitality that my sister was sharing with me in the home that was built by many hands, much hard work and caring. She calls the house her "Resurrection Cottage." Maryann has gone to a better place, having been lifted out of the pain of cancer. Her daughter has been lifted out of the turmoil of the fighting over her mother's decisions. My sister has been lifted out of the mud and devastation into a new life and a new home. I have been lifted out of the stress of daily life and given the gift of rest for a week on the white sand beach. And all because of a knitting group focused on prayer and reaching out.


 
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