One gal came in and told me that I helped her pick out fabric for her fall color themed quilt. I am so happy when people tell me what I helped them with because most likely I forgot. I remember faces and I know that I have talked to that person but I do this with multiple people a week and can't remember everyone's project. Due to the nature of quilt making, that it is a long process, I often do not see the person who I talked with and help for months. When they come in and remind me of there project I am delighted. This gal, like most, got out her phone to show me her finished quilt. It is neat to be a tiny bit of the process of so many quilts. It's like I get woven into the story of the quilt by a few threads!
Two ladies came in that I didn't find familiar. They were in the store for quite a while. At some point, the older of the two came to the counter and naturally we started to visit. She told me that she usually came to the shop hop with her mom, but right after the last one they went to last February her elderly mother passed away. The more we talked I realized that she was part of the three lady group that I always loved seeing. Her elderly mother (in her 90's) and her sister and she would shop together. The elderly woman was very kind and just a joy to see her smiling face. The woman that was the daughter that I was talking to was very somber and didn't have any sadness in telling me that her mother passed. I asked if her mother was ill and I stated that she seemed very healthy. She told me that she wasn't ill but she had taken a fall and complications of the fall led to her death. She started to cry and I felt like a heel! I apologized for asking and came around the counter to give her a hug. She reassured me that it was ok that I asked and her daughter who was with her said that she was just having a day (meaning an emotional day). As we talked some more the daughter shared that the sister who came with her to the other shop hops had passed away to. The lady said it was just after her mother passed. Oh, my heart hurt for this lady. So much to take in and so much change in her life. I let her know that what I saw of her mother was that she had a kind heart and that it was a joy for me to see her. I was encouraged that even at her age she would get out and live life! She seemed appreciative of that.
After all of that, the conversation somehow turned to the younger daughter and I talking about learning challenges with our kids and we were able to be friends for a few moments in sharing what that was like for each of us. Never think that stores are trite little places to just spend money and buy goods. No, quilt shops can be centers for connection and support. We give value-added services that would cost hundreds from a professional.
It was time for me to leave and I was talking with my last customer. She said she wanted to show me something. Like I said before so often ladies whip out their phones and show me pictures of their creations. This gal told me a very special story. She said that she had done a block of the month at another store. A block of the month is a program that you buy into and you get one block each month usually for twelve months. She said that she had put it together but the store wasn't able to get the fabric for the finishing kit. The finishing kit is the fabric you need for the sashing that borders all the blocks and for the outer border and possibly the binding. She told me that for two years, as she did different shop hops, she was looking for the right fabric to make the border. She showed me a picture of what she had finally put on the quilt and I recognized that the fabric was from our shop.
She said that she didn't know if I was religious. I said that I wasn't, but that I was a Christian. Then she told me that after she made the quilt she prayed and asked God who she was to give the quilt to.
There was a lady in her church who was very good at giving cards to people. She said that this woman remembered the one year anniversary of her sister's death and sent cards to her mother, another sister, and to herself. I could see that the woman she was telling me of had a spiritual gift of encouragement. This was the woman that she felt God was leading her to give this quilt to. She said that God told her to tell the woman that every flower on the quilt represented each card that she had sent and that he saw what she did. The lady telling me this was so impressed with the fact that as she was making this quilt and the two years of her looking for the right border fabric and the timing of when she was going to give this quilt away coincided with the time that this woman was ready to give up her card ministry. She had become discouraged because she didn't hear any thank you's for her reaching out. But the quilt showed her that God cared and that he did see what she was doing.
This story brought tears to my eyes. I needed to hear that story. I was supposed to leave work at 2:00 PM. I stay longer because my boss needed to run up to Portland to purchase more fabric for the shop hop package that we gave out. This woman told me this story right after my boss returned and was the last customer that I saw that day. I needed to hear this. It told me that God sees me too.
I needed to hear that. I needed to be reminded of God's perfect timing.
The lesson of today: People all have something to give if they are willing to and we need each other's help, support and stories to give us what we need to do our lives. We are not meant to ever go it alone.
Reach out to others in the way that you can because someone needs you!