For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38–39 (NIV)
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak…—JAMES 1:19 (NIV)
When I was a new nurse practitioner in the VA Mental Health Clinic, my patient Barnes sat with his head in his hands. Finally, as he stood to leave, he gazed at the wall where all of my diplomas and certificates were hanging. “You know what would be neat?” he said. “If people would put something pretty on their walls, like an old-fashioned quilt.” Then he fixed his eyes on the tile floor and muttered, “Well, I guess that was pretty silly. I don’t know what possessed me to come up with such an idea.”
I didn’t either, but after Barnes left, I couldn’t get his suggestion out of my mind. Just about everyone has a quilt memory, I thought. Wonder if it might really help my patients open up?
In the log cabin I called home, I had the perfect quilt in mind. It was an antique Grandmother’s Flower Garden design in a palette of pink and green that my very own Mawmaw had hand-stitched. The next morning, I took down all of the so-called symbols of my success, pulled out the nails, and hung my grandmother’s quilt.
It was amazing. Veterans stared at the long-ago stitches, and in a few moments, they were transported to another world. The sights, sounds, and smells that quilt evoked prompted the telling of all sorts of tales. And as I listened, I discovered: There wasn’t a person alive I couldn’t bond with if I only knew their story.
Thank you, Father, for the stories that connect us to each other and to you.
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