Most folks my age have an afghan, probably knit or crocheted by someone in the family long gone. I have two, both made by my Norwegian grandmother. One’s beautiful. The other’s nothing to put on display but it’s my favorite, the last she crocheted. Grandma wasted nothing, especially time. Long before Frederick Buechner wrote about the gift of each day, my grandmother lived like each day held both immediate and eternal responsibility and reward.
In today’s entry from Buechner’s, Listening to Your Life, he writes: “If you were aware of how precious it is, you could hardly live through it… ‘This is the day which the Lord has made,’ says the 118th Psalm,’ Let us rejoice and be glad in it.’ Or weep and be sad in it for that matter… If you waste it, it is your life that you’re wasting.”
One day, after watching images of desperate Afghan people, airport chaos, casualties from a suicide bomber, fires, floods, hurricanes, pandemics and polarized politics, I hit pause. Unable to handle one more statistic or image, I needed a nap and my afghan? Which left me wondering about the origin of the name of a thing that sounded like a people. Turns out it came from the Afghan people.They were known for their intricate patterns, colorful textiles and carpets. So in the 1800s in our country, we began calling homemade blankets afghans.
So back to my favorite afghan. The hodgepodge of colors disturbs my aesthetic sense but the story behind settles and instructs. You see, like her days, Grandma wasted nothing. Which explains the varied colors of my afghan, woven of small strands of yarn left over from other projects. Like the widow in Mark 12: 23,”she gave everything she had to give.” It’s a visual aide to curb my wasteful tendencies and a comfort when life needs softening.
Which brings me to the Afghan people, who need more than a blanket. It’s hard to know what to say, so I pray for those left behind and those who left everything behind to come here. It’s our turn to be afghans for them and other refugees who arrive with only hope. And consider the folks who lost everything here and other parts of the world from floods, fires and hurricanes. The needs overwhelm. How to help?
We’ve all got our “baskets of yarn.” Scraps of our lives, untapped resources. We’ve received much compared to so many in this world. Instead of caving into fear and despair, or them versus us, lets ask God to help us comfort as we’ve been comforted .(II Corinthians 1:4)
Hard times bring out the best in folks. They nudge us to put to good use what’s left in our baskets.
Afghans for Afghans and all who need some blanket coverage to soften life’s hard edges.
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