Friday, January 16, 2009

Security Blankets

The above title may seem appropriate for most of the nation as winter has truly arrived. Here in the not so deep south, the thermometer will plunge below 10 degrees. Talk about brrrrrrrr! Fortunately no snow or ice, but that is the coldest in aboout four years for the Charlotte, NC area. I have a good online reenacting friend from Wisconsin who is laughing at us silly southerners quite hard right now. At least, we'll make it back above freezing this weekend. I have jokes with many friends that I like to watch Lawrence of Arabia the coldest night of the year. Makes me feel a lot warmer! Well I did just that tonight. I'm sure I'll finish tomorrow night.

With all the extra time at home due to unemployment, I've spent a bit of it rearranging my apartment in addition to sending out resumes and making phone calls. For many years, I had a bad habit of setting gifts aside and not looking at them for maybe as much as a couple of years. We've all gotten the odd article of clothing that didn't quite fit the wardrobe. Me, I've collected blankets over the years. I just never knew what to do with them. About a couple years ago, I finally put them all to good use. The older faded ones, I used in my storage building. I arranged the newer ones around couches, chairs, recliners, and yes, even beds. They were finally being used.

One of my favorite blankets is a custom made quilt made by my grandmother before she passed away. She asked me one year for some items or logoes from my alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She even told me her project, and she started working on it as only a grandmother can do. She presented the quilt to me for Christmas 2003 (even going so for as to quilt in the date of completion on it). It was a beautiful blue and white checkerboard pattern complete with the UNC logo including the rams head in the middle. It was a work of art. I hugged her, thanked her, and then proceeded not to use it for two years.

I made all kinds of excuses. The cats will get it dirty. It doesn't match my bed. It's too pretty to sleep in. You know what though? It looked great as the top spread on my bed, and it was plenty warm. The cats enjoyed sleeping on it and seemed to treat it with more respect than the rest of my furniture. I felt silly not having put this loving gift to good use. It needed to be used.

In my most recent rearranging, I moved the quilt to the main room as a partial cover for my couch. I think it is a wonderful place of honor to show off as the couch belonged to my grandparents. Being under the weather earlier this week sleeping on their couch covered by her blanket, I was reminded of their love, care, and sacrifice for my parents and myself. Even at a low moment of sickness, it brought a moment of joy to me.

It also made me think a bit deeper about the gifts I have been given both by man and God. The reason I have those gifts is to use them in some way because the givers thought I could. It's up to me to use them wisely. I learn everyday about my gifts, whether they be tangible, spiritual, or emotional. I only hope I am worthy of them, and someday I will give back as I have been given to. Oh, but tonight, I will keep those blankets!

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