When she was planning my grandfather's funeral in 1984, one of the hymns that my grandmother chose was "Children of the Heavenly Father." Several years later, one of her friends found a counted cross stitch kit with the first verse and bought it for my grandmother.
My grandmother has never done counted cross stitch, so she gave the kit to me. I wanted to do it for her, but when I first looked at it, I wasn't sure. It was the tiniest gauge of fabric I'd ever seen. I thought I might go blind.
As with so many activities, though, once I got into a rhythm, I was fine. I spent the summer of 1990 stitching, and then, my mom made the arrangements to have the work framed. My grandmother has had it every place she's ever lived, and when she died, I reclaimed it. It now hangs over the beautiful dresser that came from my spouse's side of the family. It fits with the antique vibe of our bedroom.
We sang the hymn at my grandmother's funeral too. I spent much of the funeral wondering why I wasn't more weepy--but when we sang that hymn, I cried.
That hymn is now heavy with significance for me: 2 funerals and a craft project in between. If I had more time, I would embroider more hymns. If I was really entrepreneurial, I would create the patterns and market them. But that's not where I am in my life right now.
So, I'll look at the needlework every day and remember my younger self who diligently stitched a project that would bring my grandmother such joy. I'll remember the peace that comes from discerning the pattern and filling in with floss. I'll look at the needlework and remember the comfort contained in the words. I'll remember my elders and try to live in the wise ways that they modeled for us.