I can't make that many quilts on my own and I do not expect any of you to make that many on your own, however if we collectively work together, if we share this quilt drive on our social media sites, if we talk to our quilt shops, other quilters, our church, work, school, etc. we can and will raise this many and I believe possibly more.
I will have to rent a truck to take them to a drop off point and I will be excited to do so because I have seen what the quilting community can do when we come together and when we do the results are amazing!
Who knew when Aurora happened that we would raise over 100 quilts? Who knew that when those amazing young firefighters, dads, brothers, sons, uncles passed away last year that we would get out over 100 quilts to family members?
I did that's who! You did because you answered the call. Some of you sent quilts, some sent fabric, some sent thread, some sent postage to those who needed it, some blogged about it, Facebooked it, Tweeted it and others sent prayers and encouragement and WE did it!
Not me alone, not me, myself and I, not me and the mouse in my pocket, but all of you who make up Layers of Hope - Quilting 911, all of you who when I was exhausted and in pain from just my daily routine told me, 'we are praying for you, continue the great job you are doing, how can we help...'
Yes, some can do more than others and did, still others helped by making that one quilt that added to the stack and we did it and we touched hearts in ways we will never know.
Out of the pain of Aurora came people who received a quilt and now make quilts for others, out of the ashes of the fire came those who have stepped up and asked how to help this ministry, have volunteered to make quilts, have sent things to help others and haven't let the tragedies stop them from reaching out and paying it forward.
Robert Ingersoll stated, 'We rise by lifting others.' How eloquent and profound those five words are. I have experienced this first hand and those who have known deep loss also experience this type of lifting others. I have just never known anyone to go through loss, disaster, crisis without coming out the other side wanting to help someone else.
I lost a child many years ago, not a day goes by where I don't think of him in some way, remember his smile, his laughter, the nurses and doctors who took care of him and my promise to him the day he went to be with the angels, that I would not allow his death to prevent me from helping others.
Along the way I stumbled and fell and lost my way but finally I awoke and realized I needed to reach out to others who lost a child and I began talking to parents, reaching out to them, sending them cards, meeting with them and attending funerals for those little ones that left such a hole in the world.
But ask a parent who has lost a child to help someone else and rarely will you be told no because their pain wants to soothe someone else even if it is just for a short time.
Ask someone who has been through a disaster and even as they are still cleaning up, they want to reach out help others who are going through the same thing, they want to tell them it will be okay, they are safe, their families are safe, they will rebuild, stuff is stuff. Keep moving forward!
Ask someone who has lost a friend, family member to cancer and they will be the ones who donate first to the cancer walks, make a meal for a family who is enduring the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Not everyone who gives of their time, money, fabric, quilts, who volunteer know loss, they just know it feels amazing to reach out and help others.
However, many times those who have never felt loss have a sense of it will never happen to me so why do I need to do anything for anyone else. These are the people who ask me questions like:
- What do you really do with the quilts you receive?
- How can I believe you aren't selling the quilts you get?
- Don't you have employee's who do this stuff?
- How did I get on your mailing list? Remove me now!
- Why would I send anything I make to strangers?
We pick the fabric carefully, thoughtfully and it an take days or hours, perhaps even driving to more than one LQS in our area. The pattern is one we have used over and over or perhaps a brand new one.
We wash, dry, iron or NOT. We sit, we pray, we feel, we think about those who will receive our gift and we hope and pray that we will never have to endure what they are going through.
I prepare as well as I can, but I never say it won't, can't or shouldn't happen to me, the people in Oso, Washington were going about their business this past week-end when an entire mountain came down on them.
I am pretty sure they never thought it would happen to them, but it did and that is why we must reach out and cover them in a quilt of love and warmth, one thought about, one loved, one prayed over and while we are quilting, spreading the word, let us never forget the words of John D. Rockefeller who said:
'I always try to turn a disaster into an opportunity.' Lets turn this disaster into an opportunity of quilt giving!