Little Kindnesses Can Change Someone’s Life, #RRBC
Thursday was not a good day for me. I was feeling all sorts of blue, and that’s never me. I mean, in some parts of town, I’m called “Sunshine” because I always have a smile on my face for someone.
I woke up not feeling all that grand and if my memory serves me correctly, I went to bed feeling the same. I was tired, mentally and physically and my heart was racing a little…which is always my queue to get up, turn off the lamp and walk away from my office. I turned in at a decent hour Wednesday night (for me, that is), which was probably before 3 am. I slept a little late the next morning, but still woke up with a horrible headache and a mood that wasn’t so pretty.
As I went about my work day, I could feel that certain irritability growing inside me, which I’m pretty familiar with by now, and my intolerance for little annoyances, even in my work, was steadily growing. (I think my family could feel that storm brewing, because they were gone a lot longer than usual yesterday…the poor things).
Later that night, my daughter called and said that they were on the way home. I was excited for their arrival, because I really hadn’t seen them much that day and I don’t like when our days are that busy. When she got home, she walked in with a package in her arms. She kissed me on the cheek, laid the package on the table and said “Lucky you, Mom, the package is for you,” as she headed up the stairs. For me?
Since I get books to be reviewed by the dozens every day, I just assumed that it was a really big book inside the package, as I wasn’t expecting anything else.
When I opened the box, I pulled out a beautiful coverlet, which I would later find out, after pulling envelopes from the box, that it was a “prayer shawl.” First, I opened the smallest envelope and inside was a beautiful card, hand designed and signed by the artist:
and then, this message was also included:
I was just as excited for the card and this message from the artist, as I was for the actual gift! And then, I read the little pamphlet inside, explaining the “prayer shawl” and its purpose. I won’t post the entire thing, but will share the part of it, that moved me most (I am re-typing it exactly as is written on the pamphlet):
“SHAWLS…MADE FOR CENTURIES UNIVERSAL AND EMBRACING, SYMBOLIC OF AN INCLUSIVE, UNCONDITIONALLY LOVING GOD. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles…” ~ Janet Bristow
“This prayerful ministry reaches out to those in need of solace and comfort… Many blessings are prayed into every shawl. The maker begins with prayers and blessings for the recipient. The intentions are continued throughout the creation of the shawl. Upon completion, a final blessing is offered before it is sent on to the recipient. The recipient may continue the kindness by creating a shawl and passing it on to someone they know that is in need of comfort and blessings. Thus, the ministry has a ripple effect, from giver to receiver, the unconditional embrace and sheltering of a nurturing and loving God. The shawls must always be given away unconditionally and never sold. They are created in prayer for the recipient, that they may be embraced by the prayers and blessings contained in each stitch.”
Now, I wouldn’t refer to me as a highly religious person. Hold on a minute, though, don’t confuse what I’m saying, because I do have my religion, but I would say that I am more of a spiritual person and the two are clearly defined differently. So, after reading over all the material that was enclosed with my gifts, I slowly and carefully unfolded the beautiful shawl and wrapped it around my shoulders. I cannot tell you what happened in that moment, but I felt a warmth come over me like never before. I was instantly “calmed.” I stood in my dining room, trying to make sense of what was happening to me, but my mind was still, and my heart no longer racing. I felt so safe, I felt so loved and just thankful. All of the stress of my day disappeared instantly!
I picked up the card and read the inside because I hadn’t done that yet, as I was so moved by the sentiment of the drawing of the card. It was from someone very special to me, someone who may not even know that she is such a calming force in my life and she makes me want to be a better person, and from her calm strength, I am searching for my own calm strength.
When the initial shock of the feeling that I was getting from the “prayer shawl” had moved on, and my feet felt that they could now do what they were made to do, I gathered all of my gifts and walked in the direction of my office. I sat down, shawl still draped about my shoulders, closed my eyes, laid my head back and prayed…thankful for the gift which was sent to give me peace and solace.
After I finished praying, I got up, draped the shawl over my desk chair…
…and started to walk out the door of my office. I stopped, turned around and looked at the shawl, draped neatly over the back of my chair, and said to myself “I don’t want to leave it here. I want to take it to bed with me tonight so that I can feel its warmth and security as I sleep.” So, I turned around and gently lifted it up from the chair and headed to my bedroom.
I got into bed without kneeling to pray last night, as I wanted to, for whatever strange reason, pray, while lying on my back, looking upwards, with my “prayer shawl” safely covering me. And I did. I closed my eyes and slept like a newborn baby last night. When I woke up this morning, that headache of mine was present again, but yet, I felt extra safe and secure, still wrapped in my shawl.
I haven’t reached out to my gift-er yet, as I wanted to write this blog as a THANK YOU to her and in honor of her kindness shown. I want her to know just how much this “gift” means to me and just how it moved me, especially by showing up at just the right time last night. Gwen, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. This precious gift is already one of my true treasures and if today is any indication, I don’t think I’ll be taking one step without my “prayer shawl.” I got into my car this eve, and guess what went along for the ride?
I’m now seated back at my desk, and guess what is draped about my shoulders? It feels as if I am safely wrapped in the wings of angels. Thank you, dear friend!
I am interested in gifting my daughters with their own “prayer shawls” so I will be reaching out via the contact info included in my gift box. I’m going to share this info with you, in the event you’d also like to gift someone:
OUR LADY OF THE LAKE, PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY, 203 Vaughn Drive, Branson, MO 65616, email: info@OLLBranson.com
Gwendolyn M. Plano / @gmplano is the author of “LETTING GO INTO PERFECT LOVE” and the cover of her book houses Angel’s wings. How fitting is it that the gift she has sent to me, makes me feel as if I am wrapped in those same wings? (By the way, this is an awesome story, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy).
So, what do you think? Have you ever heard of “prayer shawls?” Do you believe in their ability to make you “feel” something when they are draped around you? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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