Several years ago I met an upbeat, hard-laughing, intelligent woman in seminary. I had no idea then that our lives would connect in such powerful ways just a few years later. Toward the end of graduation, several of my classmates and I were chosen to be part of a cohort that would help bridge the transition between seminary and life in the real (church) world. We received this wonderful gift thanks to the Lily Endowment – we’re in Indianapolis, everything is thanks to the Lily Endowment 😉
Over the years A and I got to know each other well. I learned about her struggle with infertility and her deep desire to have a child. This past June on the evening of the summer solstice, I was gathered with A and several other women at a local park to learn about shame in our lives and find ways to let it go. While we were on a break, A pulled me aside to show me a picture on her phone – a positive pregnancy test! She had recently undergone IVF and just that morning discovered that it worked!
From that day forward I prayed for A – that she would be healthy and the baby would grow. I prayed that the pregnancy would go full term – I couldn’t imagine the complete heartbreak she would feel if this pregnancy didn’t work. A few months later I saw her and her little baby bump. It was then that I shared with her our early struggles with conceiving. We laughed and cried together – this is normal for A, pregnant or not! She understood my pain, which made it easy for me to share in her joy.
When my mom took me to buy fabric for my birthday, I knew I had to include some fabric to make a baby quilt for A. It needed to be bright, colorful and whimsical. When I came across Tula Pink’s Slow and Steady line I knew I’d found the perfect fabric! Not only are the patterns big and wild, but hidden within them are animals – hare, turtle, squirrel and snail. I could imagine A holding her sweet baby girl, pointing out the different animals hidden in her quilt.
I decided to keep the quilt itself simple since the fabric was wild enough. I cut it down to 5” squares. If I were OCD, I would have fussy cut the animal faces to make sure they were center in each square. However, I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the faces out perfectly and “center” isn’t a big concern for me. Yes, it’s busy – but it’s beautiful and it’s perfect for A and her baby.
I made this quilt after we found out our own devastating news. It was hard to work on. But, I knew A had struggled for so long. I can be sad for my situation and happy for her. It’s not one or the others – it’s both/and. I randomly pieced them together and did a simple straight line stitch on either side of the seams to quilt it.
I figured she would have a baby shower soon. I knew I could have held on to the quilt until then. I could have shown up at the shower and presented the quilt in person. But…I didn’t. I mailed it. I forgot to include a card. However, no words really needed to be written. She knew what was within the fabric and the stitches. She knew what it took for me to create this quilt for her. I wish I could be there at that shower, but I can’t. Not yet. Thankfully, she’s the kind of empathetic friend who doesn’t take offense. She loves me even when I can’t show up.
I am overjoyed for A and her husband. They are going to be beautiful, loving parents. That little girl is going to be so spoiled! She is a prayer answered. And for her answered prayer, I am grateful.