Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hobbies, Love, and Thoughtful Advice.

When I was in high school I had a wonderful group of girlfriends. Strong, amazing women. I loved them (and still do) and admired their commanding talents: One was a master swimmer, literally breaking all kinds of records. One a skilled and savvy soccer star. Another a poet and artist with an aura like a peaceful river (seriously).

Of course each possessing many wonderful, lovely qualities in addition to their hobbies- they all had a fierce (for better of worse) defining thing that they loved to do.

I couldn't help but wonder, what do I have?

And you know what? Nothing really big came up. I thought of things like: I'm a nice person, I try to be a good friend, I care about others... But at seventeen, what I really wanted, what I really thought would be cool would be something flashy like: I'm a dancer, or a surfer (ok, not realistic in the mountains but...) or something like that.

Of course it's silly to put too much into the labels we put on ourselves and each other, but even then, beyond the glitzy thoughts, I recognized the power in having something- a hobby or sport or whatever, that you do because you love doing it.

A couple of years later I got married. And thoughts of being a good friend/neighbor/wife/mother occupied my mind. What could I do that would help me in these roles? Something I would love to do? The time was ripe for some defining.

And so I thought about some of the women I looked up to as I was growing up. And one woman in particular came to mind.

Alice was a wonderful baker. One of my mom's best friends and the mother to a friend of mine, her house was always filled with the sweet scents of good baking-made with love and skill. Many times you would go to her house and a fresh sheet pan of chocolate covered candies would be cooling on her counter. She shared her treats with all those she loved.

I wanted to be like Alice.

And so, a few months after being married I decided that I was going to learn how to bake. I made toffee first- and learned all about candy crystallization after my first batch failed just minutes into the process. But I kept learning. I keep learning. And I love it.

This week Grandma is giving me sewing lessons. Grandma is the most amazing seamstress I have ever seen. Truly, each piece is so perfect with attention given to all the little details.

She sews 12 hours a day. And she loves it. At the fabric store yesterday as we admired all the beautiful fabrics, Grandma exclaimed "I need to live until I'm 150 so I can sew all the projects I'd like to sew!"

And then today, Grandma told me that she was so glad that I was interested in learning how to sew because it is so important to have a hobby that you enjoy doing. "I have all this time," she said, "and I have something to do with it, instead of being lonely."

Grandma sews for herself, and she sews for others- almost every project that she does is done with someone in mind. She gives in such a valuable, appreciated, loving way.

I was thinking about what she said today, about having a hobby. I've been soaking it in, pondering her wise words.

Then tonight I helped bring dinner to an older couple from church. She had fallen recently, and needed some help with their meals.

And so I brought some food over to their home. She sat in a chair and explained her broken knee, while her husband, slow and sweet walked from the couch to the kitchen to the couch. Another lady had helped bring food too. So we both sat on the couch and talked. And then the lady told me, admiring, serious, "Mary is a wonderful quilter. She has made dozens and dozens and dozens of tiny-pieced, intricate quilts that are just beautiful." Mary sat in her chair and talked about quilting and crocheting a bit.

And then the lady and I left. I was just about to get in the car when Mary's husband got to the front door and shouted, "You forgot your dish towels!" His arms extended, holding two towels for us.

"Mary has a lot of time and likes to make these and give them away," he said.

Mary was giving a dish towel, beautifully crocheted with three different colors, to everyone that was helping bring her food. Mary was giving in such a loving way, her way.

Thank you Grandma and thank you Mary and thank you Alice, for your beautiful examples and wise words.

I long to follow in your footsteps.

1 comment:

Mrs. Olsen said...

I think your goals are more powerful than the world gives credit for. A book I recently discovered that I think you will enjoy is called "Hope's Edge". Check it out.