Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Mended Tea Towel...for my mom!

It was just an old tea towel.  It caught me off guard, but it shouldn’t have.  I’ve seen it so many times before, with other things.  There in my mother’s kitchen, folded and hanging neatly on the stove was a blue and white tea towel that had been carefully mended.  Even then, with her failing eyesight, my mother still managed to mend things beautifully and often invisibly.  

The very fact that this tea towel still existed at all is what moved my heart that morning.  Why didn’t she just throw it away?  Well, I guess because it was perfectly good except for the hole.  My mom has always had the gift of seeing value and worth in something.  She could take an item that others had  no choice but to discard, and give it a second life.  Her careful pinning and meticulous attention to detail produced  patches and mends that were rarely noticeable. She didn't seem to mind putting in the time it required either.  And it did take time.  To her, this process of caring and restoring was a simple, natural and everyday thing.  I see it as extraordinary.

It isn’t just things that my mother mended, like tea towels or a favorite shirt that my husband couldn't part with. She mended people too.  She still does.  I think about all the mended people that have sat in my mother’s kitchen through the years.  I’m one of them.  So many of us were broken, worn out, stained and feeling worthless.  But she saw all of us differently.  In her eyes, we had great value.  We were worth saving and restoring.  In fact, we were perfectly good except for the holes.  She knew what we could become with some loving, careful attention and a lot of time.  It was just a simple, everyday thing.

There were people in my mom’s mending basket who I thought were almost impossible to deal with.  I remember as a kid wondering when she would ever give up on them.  I think of the time and energy she poured into so many lives….and the heartache.  Broken people can be hard to mend.  But she wasn’t afraid to tackle anything that she deemed worthwhile.  I love that about my mom. I see now that I really should have paid more attention to this everyday part of my mother’s life.  I can sew on a button and I’ve even tried mending a few items, but I clearly lack my mother’s skills.  She really is a master.  I can only hope that I have somehow learned to apply this skill to people the way my mother does.
She has shown me so much about God’s great love for people; the way He cherishes those who are broken, worn out, stained and discarded.  He sees them the way they could be with some careful attention and His loving hands upon them.  He knows they are valuable and He paid the highest price for them by allowing His own son Jesus to be nailed to a cross --surrendering his life for all humanity.  This single act of love alone brings wholeness and restoration that reminds me of my mom’s invisible patches.  To God, we are perfectly good except for the holes.  We just need to be mended.     -April 2009 for MY amazing mom.


words and images © copyright melody armstrong 2013

1 comment:

  1. Awww, what a beautiful tribute to your wonderful Mom! She is such a sweet mom, and was like a second mom to me through our university years and beyond! Thank her for mending my heart with her precious words and thoughtfulness (as well as your brother and sister) when I needed it a few weeks ago! Happy Mother's Day to you too my dear friend!


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