Saturday Quilting Bring & Share – missed the date AGAIN! The draft is here in my laptop and I will add to it through the week as I endeavour to catch up on emails. I have to take a digression from patchwork and quilting in this post as I need to share the following before returning to my more regular subject.
So last week was filled with preparing my sewing room for Hampshire Open Studios.
All that activity was put into perspective by the failing health of a 90 year old friend. Many of her other friends had visited M in hospital before I made the trip. It proved to be her last day. She had struggled to find contentment as increasing physical frailty vied with her fierce independence. An infection made hospital care a necessity, she must have found her incapacitated state immensely frustrating. Treatment failed, the hospital staff gently and respectfully cared for M and ministered to us, her friends, moving M on to end-of-life care. We were privileged to spend the day at her bedside, sharing our memories of times spent with M, praying, reading from the Bible, watching as M’s breaths became more and more shallow, her very presence in the room fading. I read some verses from Revelation – in the new heaven and new earth ‘there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ – and had the real sense that M was closer to being with her Lord in heaven than she was with us in that hospital ward.
At 6pm M’s body took it’s last, silent, breath. Holding her hand I saw the delicate pulse in her neck continue to flutter. Then all movement ceased and tears welled in my eyes as I ushered a nurse to M’s bedside. First the nurse’s hug for me then, a few minutes later, the kind, sincere words of the Matron brought comfort.
That was Friday. Over the weekend I found myself reflecting on the heart: a most marvelous muscle. It begins beating long before we are born and then, given a sufficient supply of oxygen, night and day, resting and exercising, the heart continues, a tireless muscle beating out a ceaseless rhythm. In early Hebrew there was a strong association between the heart and the mind. I have started reading the book of Deuteronomy in preparation for a Bible study series this Autumn. The Old Testament book could be dismissed as an ancient list of irrelevant rules except that it is all about God’s relationship with us and how we should respond to Him: to love Him with all our heart, soul and might. That is a challenge: to love God, to follow His ways, with every heart beat of a life time. M served God through His Church here and overseas. As preparations for her funeral begin it will be enlightening to share and learn what her many friends knew of M’s 90 years and the experiences they shared with her.
It’s good to get perspective – thankfully not always through witnessing death or grieving! Just to be reminded that although I call patchwork and quilting ‘my obsession’ it would be very remiss of me to get so caught up with things here that I forget to turn my thoughts to things above. We have the opportunity to take hold of an eternity of good things through the saving grace given us in the person of Jesus Christ. M knew Him and placed a sure hope in Him. She knew she wasn’t perfect – none of her good works earned her her place in heaven, it was faith in Jesus’ sacrificial death for her that secured M’s place with Him.