People have sent me the most amazing and thoughtful gifts. This crocheted angel arrived today and made me cry. The friend who sent it to me visits an inmate on death row. She enclosed the winged one in the card that she sent, writing an intriguing story about the man who had made it. She has visited him for half of his 40 years in prison which is a huge commitment. His story is heartbreaking. When I worked with my friend many moons ago, I was in charge of a section of a magazine that linked inmates to pen pals on the outside. Sometimes I would read a request and feel tremendous sadness for a particular situation. Once in a while, I would come across a scenario that was one of injustice and I believed the person had not committed the crime, as is the case with her friend. This story reminded me of those letters and of a friendship with an inmate that I visited at the penitentiary near me.
I find that one situation will trigger a dozen other life events for me, as if I am living magnified in a tumbler spinning out of control. Life gets compacted into seconds. Anyway, I linked the letters to this angel to my current prison ministry and found great solace as I cupped the crocheted cherub in my hand. my friend was paying homage to me by saying that as with her friend, I had taught her much about courage, perseverance and grace.
As I read his story, I am humbled to be compared to such a man. Because I have not asked to share his story, I will not here, but suffice it to say, that he has had a challenging go of life. When I searched his name on the Internet, I was disheartened to read more about the injustices he is facing. He has never really known a stable life but maintains that he did not commit the murder that he is accused of. For many years, he passed the time in prison by creating crocheted art. He asked my friend to share his angels with those who need a reminder that God loves them. In this Spirit, she gifted me with one, reminding me that the Spirit of Life makes a way out of no way. As I touch the strands I will recall that there is always a thread of hope, even in the darkest night.
The arrival of this gift was perfectly timed. I have had a rough day emotionally. I met with my supervisor and began to pack up my personal belongings from my office. I had not expected it to be as hard as it was but suddenly the impact of closing my career door in an untimely manner slammed me in the face. My supervisor has been one of my favourite bosses in my life and I am grateful for all the support she has given to me over my tenure. I have learned a lot about grace, flexibility and affirmation from her.
From that experience, I moved on to another meeting and at the end of it, the priest involved suggested that the work that I was doing was going to be blessed because I was doing it with great freedom, which meant that we both understood that I will not benefit directly from the tasks that I am doing. I am helping to scatter seeds, knowing full well that I will not see the flowers coming up in the garden years from now. Tears flowed once again.
I came home to find the remarkable story of how this angel found its way to me and again, cried. Yes, these threads of hope will sustain me. I name this angel Hope. I join with this man who has suffered more greatly than I ever will, wrongly accused, sentenced to death, and left for decades in a cell. I pray for all those who need hope in their lives. I still believe in Hope and this winged weaving will be a visible sign that God will make a way out of no way.
What gift that you have been given has special meaning to you?
What thread of hope are you hanging onto?
You who makes a way where there is no way startle us into believing Hope endures. Under the darkness of night, the winged one flies to our aid. How blessed are we!