There is a quilt draped across the back of my desk chair. It’s just a small lap quilt, the kind I remember from nursing homes. The fabrics are old-fashioned prints, woven from cotton. The simple squares are sewn together in random sequence. The layers are tied with yarn at the corners of the pieces. I don’t even know who made it.
It is, by all standards, a quilt of no distinction at all.
Given to the University of Minnesota by a quilting group, it was made to keep oncology patients warm. Diminishing weight and the treatments they endure leave cancer patients extremely cold all the time.
When I first saw the quilt, my father sat at the kitchen table, where all memories of my father lead. He wore a thin grey goose-down jacket. The stocking cap Mother knitted sat high on his head. The quilt lay across his lap and over his slippered feet.
The strong, firm man of my childhood was now frail, thin, and weak. His face produced a genuine smile that visually drained precious energy from his body. I noticed the quilt immediately.
“Where did you get this?”
I hugged him then walked over to do the same to my mother. She explained where he received the quilt, and we all agreed how very nice it was.
As the weeks progressed, my father was never without his quilt. And now, as I look at it these twenty-four years later, I imagine it wise and gentle. The threads woven in purpose. The pieces cut with precision. Love somehow supernaturally layered between patchwork and batting and backing.
For decades the quilt sat neatly folded on my bedroom shelves as a reminder of the care my father received during his last months from so many faceless angels. It is a steadfast message that we just never know when the good we do will affect the lives of others.
Recently I brought the quilt from its place on the shelf and rested it on the back of my chair. When the temperature dips down, as it can in Minnesota, the quilt comes out to lay across my lap and over my slippered feet. It reminds me, as I work diligently at my job, to do well. But more importantly, it reminds me how lucky I am to be in a position where I can do good.
“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
― Minor Myers
Peace . . .