“Ugh!” The infernal basket sat in the corner of my craft room staring at me while I tried to catch up the family scrapbook. Joshua’s first birthday was coming and I wanted to be able to share the family pictures of his first year at the party. Considering I was almost up to him coming home from the hospital the project was looking less and less promising.
“Hi, honey.” My husband came in and kissed me while surreptitiously dropping something into the basket.
I stopped and questioned him. “What is that?”
He recoiled, appropriately sheepish at my tone and said, “My jeans.”
“What did you do to them?” I lifted my eyebrows at him and tapped my finger nails on the desk while I waited on his answer.
“I may have accidentally ripped the pocket.” He pulled the jeans from the pile and stuck his finger through the hole. “I backed into the metal fence post in the backyard.”
“And these are your last good pair?” He nodded. “Which means that you need them fixed by Friday so you can wear them for casual day?” Another nod. I snatched them from him and settled in to fix the offending denim pushing aside the scrapbook yet again.
Once I got started with the collection of needles, thread and patching material I decided that I might as well attack the rest of the basket.
First was Libby’s red dress with the tear in the hem where she stepped on it playing dancing princess. I quickly stitched up the hole with many interruptions from the five-year-old owner who couldn’t wait to wear it again. Her excitement spilled over and I couldn’t help but wish that I could as easily mend the fence around her zest for life. It hurt my heart to think that the day would come when she would fear and suffer from the effects of sin. When I finished and helped her slip the gown over her head she spun proudly and then grabbed me in a hug. “You’re the best mommy ever!” And with that, she was gone to play and dance once again.
Next I started on a skirt Samantha had dropped off last time she was over and asked that I take in. I decided to go ahead with the project despite the fact that my foster daughter, only ten years my junior, was now pregnant and planning to marry the father in a few short weeks. For her I continued to pray for God to stitch up her heart. She has suffered the effects of a mother and father who saw nothing in her but disappointment. She loved a younger sister who caved under that pressure and chose the selfish way out ending her own life. Now she will soon have a husband and a child of her own, even a stepchild and I pray that they will wield the needle needed to knit together a family of her own.
Along with his jeans, Paul had tossed in a couple of shirts needing some attention. One shirt separated along the seam under the arm and was easily repaired. A second shirt that was torn at the elbow I simply tossed. It reminded me of the bridges to his family in need of constant mending. One bridge held for now. Tentatively bridging a long-distant relationship to his sister and her family. It creaked when you crossed it and sometimes threatened to snap but for now it held. The other, like the second shirt, seemed beyond repair. Ten years of tears and rips between my husband and his brother had left it worthy of only a sad abandonment, at least for now.
Finally, I reached the bottom of the basket. My pile of mending proudly arrayed before me. It was an accomplishment. Not the one I had set my sites on that day, but a worthy one none-the-less. I had mended what I could, retired what I couldn’t and strengthened my family with naught but needle and thread.
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