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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)

TITLE: The Work of Hands
By Elizabeth Hale
02/13/07


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I am reminded of my grandmother and her linens. When Nana was growing up, all the girls in her family (she had four sisters) spent many hours preparing items that they would use when they married. They sewed their sheets and curtains. My grandmother made nearly every single item of clothing she ever wore. They might have store bought tea towels and bath towels, but my Nana and her sisters spents countless hours embroidering tiny, delicate flowers and beautiful designs on each one. After they married, they would repeat the process of the handicraft by monogramming those sewn sheets and store bought towels with their, and new hubby's, initials. It was important to them at that time. Now, we pay other people to do it, if we have it done at all. We just run right out to Wal-mart and buy everything we need and never give it a second thought. I wish some things didn't get discarded with the simple passage of time.

My grandmother was married twice in her lifetime. Her first marriage ended because, though she and he had discussed it before, her husband decided he really did want children of his own. My grandmother was unable to conceive due to an illness when she was young.

She was devastated but she understood. How she longed for a baby herself! How she ached to hold a tiny child close to her breast! So it was an amicable dissolution and they remained good friends until he passed away. My grandmother was pleased that he had indeed remarried and had his own children.

Eventually, she met my grandfather, who let her know in no uncertain terms that her condition was of no consequence to him. He wanted Nana for his wife and that's all there was to it.

They eventually adopted my mother--the child of a local prostitute. My Nana loved that woman, not just because she was gifted with her child, but because Nana understood that sometimes life is hard and unfair and we can only deal with what we've got before us. Life can be ugly while still providing glimpses of beauty.

We are fashioned and shaped by the hands of the Master. He doesn't make mistakes. With any of us. We're the ones who mess things up--not Him.

I still have many of those embroidered linens of my grandmothers. Every time I take one out, I am reminded of the woman who was my grandmother. I am reminded of how the Master touched her with His beautiful hands, and in touching her, everyone else in her family also felt the warmth of that touch.

My grandparents set a powerful example for their family. I can only hope that those of us who are left here can hold onto their lessons in how a person should go about the craft called life. It can be hard, unfair, unkind. It can also be joyous, overflowing, and beautiful.

I prefer to seek out the beauty. I hope you will too.


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Jan Ackerson 02/17/07
What a remarkable woman! Thank you so much for introducing her to us!

I wish you'd done a bit more with elaborating the parallel between your Nana's needlecraft and finding beauty in a prostitute's selfless act. It definitely deserves more attention, because it's a truly wonderful thought.

Really, really nice.