What will you do?

Confucius said: “We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” So what will you do with this one life?

We have been given the gift of creativity and a talent for expressing ourselves in different art media, most principally in our case, quilting and/or sewing. We can choose to keep these graces to ourselves and for ourselves, or we can choose to share these graces with others and make a difference.

I started talking about this in an earlier blog about the AIDS quilt. The AIDS quilt was a way for people to deal with the pain of losing loved ones and for raising awareness about the epidemic. It gave faces and names to those who died. It was an act of healing both for the artists and for the families and communities suffering loss.

History is riddled with ways in which quilters used their medium to communicate injustices and their thoughts and views about current events. The International Quilt Museum has a nice site that shows examples of quilts being used in this way throughout U.S. history.

In more recent history, we have the National Tribute Quilt in memory of the lives lost on 9/11. This 8-foot tall quilt contains nearly 3,500 fabric squares created by people in all 50 states and five countries. The quilt depicts the New York City skyline with the Twin Towers. It also represents the Pentagon and the four flights hijacked on that fateful day.

This tradition of using quilting and sewing as a means of expression about and calls to action for social activism continues to this day. Stitching Stolen Lives is an in-depth look at the mission and work of the Social Justice Sewing Academy Remembrance Project. It commemorates the lives recently lost through social injustice. Additionally, the organization has a project commemorating lives lost through domestic violence.

But the answer to the question--What will you do?--doesn't have to take on such grandiose issues as women's rights, social injustice, or domestic violence. It can be simple acts of kindness. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux answered this question by doing small acts. She is the saint of the Little Way, and it is through little ways--simple acts of kindness--that we can have a great impact and initiate change. Change in even a single person's life is change worth making.

Owl's Nest Quilters recently delivered over 50 Bags of Love, our year-long charity project that got stalled during the pandemic. These bags (pillowcases) were lovingly hand made by an army of warriors. The bags were filled with handmade stuffed animals, blankets, quilts, fabric books, pillows, burp cloths and bibs, and other little gifts. These bags are intended to be given to children who are taken from their homes. The children will have something they can call their own and hopefully know that people they will never meet love and care for them.

In August, we are starting a new project. Grand Junction has a large number of senior and memory care facilities. One of these facilities is interested in receiving handmade sensory blankets that residents can fidget with to stimulate their senses. In some small way, we can make a difference for these residents and demonstrate to them that someone remembers and cares about them.

In your neighborhood, town, or community, what can you do to make a difference in a small way using the skills and talents you have been given? Leave a post and let us know what ideas you have, what you have done, or what you are doing. We can learn from and get inspiration from one another to make a difference in someone's life.

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