The world is full of so many people.  A brief few are your relatives and friends.  Some are acquaintances or co-workers.  Some are faces that you nod to but don’t really know. You may wish well to all but you are only really invested in your core… until you experience grief.

Suddenly you realize that the greater world experiences grief too.  You find yourself one of many.  You aren’t alone.  Everyone out there will experience a loss.  Their grief may not be the same as yours and that is ok.

In that last couple of weeks, two stranger/grief things happened to me…

I have a wonderful friend who has a wonderful friend.  My friend told her friend about the loss of Breelyn and Breelyn’s Blanket Brigade.  This complete stranger to me, made me the most beautiful prayer shawl.  I was speechless in receiving it.  This stranger spent hours of her time making something for me- something that would remind me that I wasn’t alone.

I ran into a person that I’d gone to college with.  We’d never really gotten along and I was apprehensive when I bumped into them.  As we talked, I learned that their mother had recently passed away and that their child was having a hard time with it.  I hadn’t seen this person in 15+ years, we weren’t friends, but I quickly ordered them a book that my three year old has liked on death (Honey Bear Died). We’re both parents with hurting children and I have to do what I can to help- to remind this person that they aren’t alone.

We’re living in a hurting world.  And we can do something.  Share a hug, a smile, a letter, a handshake.  Send a card, a book, a photo, a check.  Make a blanket, a meal, a date.  Just do something.  You aren’t alone.  Make someone’s day a bit better.  You have the power to help- just do it.

First Live Gathering of Breelyn’s Blanket Brigade

Last night was the first live gathering for Breelyn’s Blanket Brigade.  My church had agreed to sponsor the event.  The gig had been featured in the church bulletin and I’d promoted it on facebook.  My excitement and nervousness grew.

A friend stopped me in the hall at church and mentioned that she was going to bring her young daughter to the event.  I was so impressed that this young girl (I’m guessing 2-3rd grade) wanted to be a part of our project BUT it set me into a panic… What if I had ten young kids show up to be taught?  How would I handle that?  And so, I called in my ringers. I enlisted every person that I knew who knew how to crochet.  I wanted to be prepared!  Spoiler alert- only one kid and maybe 4-5 newbies attended.

I organized squares, bought hooks, and wound yarn.  I wanted all the pieces ready (can you tell that I like control?).  And lastly, I was nervous about prayer.  Public prayer has always been difficult for me.  I know that God doesn’t need me to be eloquent but the world does.  And so, while I know that God loves it anytime that I talk to Him, I worried.  Spoiler- it was no big deal.  Losing Breelyn has resulted in a great desire for me to be candid and authentic.  So no eloquence needed- I think that I said something like “Dear God, Thank you for giving us the skills and interest to help make someone’s really awful day just a bit better.  Thank you for giving us this time to be together.  And thank you for this food.”  Done- and bother, why did I waste time worrying about talking to someone who gets me (God)?  I really shouldn’t be worrying about what others think… And yes, I did tear up just a bit- how could you not?

So the day arrived… I decided to stop by my PO Box on the way to church just incase someone had sent any squares.  And indeed, someone had!  I opened an envelope to find so many beautiful squares in oh so many colors and patterns.  What a great way to start the day!  My neighbor carpooled with me and we met my parents there.  We set up tables and chairs and laid out bottles of water and name tags.  And people started arriving.  Over thirty people came!!  The group was made up of strangers, friends, neighbors, church members, co-workers, and family.  Some were Christian, some atheist.  Some women, some men.  Some kids.  There were some newbies and some experts.  Some knitters, some who crocheted.  Some parents with toddlers (child care provided).  And all with a willingness to attack the task at hand.  Granny squares were produced.  Inches of blankets turned out.  And two blankets were created.

This picture of the patchwork blanket really symbolizes Breelyn’s Blanket Brigade for me.  This blanket is made up of squares made by different people.  People who very likely don’t know each other nor will they know the family who will receives this blanket.  Every square is different.  Every square relays care, concern, and love.  This blanket and others came about because women, men, teenagers, and children shared their talent, time, and care.  The moments that these men and women put into these blankets matter.  If the blanket can help a mum or a dad feel just a little bit less alone, that their baby was loved, that they are loved- then we are successful.

Thank you everyone for your diligent work.  I had a blast and I can’t wait until next time!!