Sue Wilson lived in a cobalt blue bungalow tucked into a lush grove of fir and birch trees in the Great Smoky Mountains. She loved cobalt, and all other shades of blue, and was outspoken about her preference. “Blue MUST be God’s favorite color – it’s the one He chose for the heavens!”
Her knotty-pine interior walls displayed artistic groupings of antique blue dinner plates she’d found at auctions and flea markets. Sue literally surrounded herself with God’s color, which served as a constant reminder to her of His presence.
As a professional photographer, she captured evidence of Him through the camera's lens: cottony clouds standing in place with blue-sky backdrops; frothy waves bubbling in blue seas, lakes, or streams; fragile, humble blue monkshood blossoms nodding in her perennial flower garden. She sold her images online as computer wallpaper, or at fairs, festivals, and state parks as framed enlargements.
Over the years Sue adjusted to living alone with her loyal companion, a collie named Sammie. She became a neighborhood fixture, someone anyone and everyone could count on. Her flyaway auburn hair seemed an icon of freedom to all who knew her well. Much of her wardrobe consisted of home sewn, flowing dresses – many of them blue - and she never wore make-up or jewelry. She did not own a single thing that might be considered contemporary, and this uniqueness endeared her to others.
Volunteer work was Sue’s passion. She served the poor at the local soup kitchen on Saturdays, visited nursing homes with Sammie on Sunday afternoons, and tutored special needs children at the local elementary school on weekdays. This work earned her a nickname in the community: “True-Blue Sue.”
But few realized she also regularly retreated to a tightly packed, walk-in storage closet in her home. There Sue scrunched herself onto a small wooden folding chair surrounded by stacks of boxes, some containing mothballs. A single glaring light bulb hung from the ceiling, creating angular but willing-to-bend, wrap-around shadows.
In this hideaway she read scripture and talked with her Lord, and knitted. As her metal needles clicked off stitches, she poured out her heart. “Thank you most gracious heavenly Father, for Your unfailing mercy … take away my uncertainties … fill me once again with Your Holy Spirit … enable me to trust You and serve Your will implicitly … bless those who need to know You, and those who need more of You … provide us all with greater measure of Your graces, Lord, than we even know are possible.”
Over time Sue accumulated a large collection of small knitted squares that she stored in a box perched on a high shelf of the closet. Each represented a beautifully composed, unique pattern of stitches, as well as a special time of communion with her Father.
After Sue’s death, her sister Ruth helped clear the house in preparation for the estate settlement. As Ruth dug through the closet’s boxes of old blankets and clothes - many of which Sue had kept on hand to share with the needy - she came to the special box of knitted squares, all fashioned from various shades of blue.
Ruth gently handled the squares as she would goblets of fragile crystal – with sensitive delicacy, as if touching Sue’s own soul. She examined each one, and then discovered a sealed envelope at the very bottom of the box. Ruth opened it carefully, and extracted a piece of paper with writing in Imogene’s hand.
To the one who finds my knitting:
No doubt if you are holding this box, I have gone Home to be with the Father. Please know that these squares are not just craft projects; they’re works of grace, by grace, for grace.
I’ve come to this closet many times – sometimes to store or retrieve items for His lost sheep, other times to praise and receive hope from Him, ask for His mercy, and create a tangible work of art for Him. Each of these blue squares is a testimony to His love for me, an expression of the beauty and wholeness He alone can inject into human hearts and souls.
Although I leave behind a variety of things (including so many pictures of His created beauty), these squares are my spiritual legacy. I hope you will bring them out of darkness and into the light of life – perhaps join them together as an afghan to bring His warmth to others.
Sue Wilson – disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ
June 30, 1936
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