by Pam Tinsley
On the Fourth of July, some friends of ours hosted a backyard barbecue that included folks from their neighborhood, and I had the opportunity to meet Anna. As we chatted, I learned that she is a cancer survivor, and she shared a story about her chemotherapy experience that changed not only her health, but also her life.
When Anna began her chemotherapy, she was invited to select a beautiful hand-made quilt from a nearby cupboard. The quilt would keep her warm during treatment. At each treatment, Anna was given the same quilt, which she wrapped around herself and from which she drew great comfort and peace. She told me that the quilt was almost like a “blanky.” She faithfully returned the quilt to the cupboard at the end of each treatment.
At the end of her very last treatment, Anna went to return the quilt. Instead of accepting the quilt, the nurse said to her, “Oh, no, this is yours to keep!” Anna was deeply moved when she realized that the quilt was a gift that had been made for her. She thought about the love that went into making a quilt for a stranger. Anna reflected about this wonderful – almost mystical – bond she felt with the anonymous quilter. Anna then realized how much the anonymous quilter had ministered to her throughout her cancer treatment. She felt truly blessed.
Anna herself is a seamstress, even though she had never done much quilting. She decided right then and there that she would combine her gift for sewing with love and prayers, and that she would make prayer quilts for the chemotherapy infusion clinic. She wanted to give to others the same peace and comfort she had experienced during those long, hard and sometimes spiritually lonely months.
Anna’s story has stuck with me. When she was too weak to pray herself, she drew strength and comfort from the quilt – a gift made out of love by someone Anna would probably never meet. Anna shows us how a simple act of kindness can change another life – and can also open our eyes to ways we might minister to others.
What gift or talent do you have that you might share in order to bring love, peace or hope to someone else?