Last Saturday I set up at a craft show for my mom. She wasn’t feeling well so I handled the set-up and sales for her crocheted doily hobby for the day. I’ve helped her before so I was accustomed to how it worked, what she expected for prices and what people would be like. What I wasn’t prepared for was the outpouring of conversation that enveloped and blessed me throughout the day.
Many people know my mom’s work because she’s been at this fair before. Some even come to see the “new” things she has every year and most of them buy at least one item from her. We hear the same thing every year from almost every person that passes, “This is a lost art,” or “my grandmother used to crochet these.” Plus, so many stop and say, “Oh this is the crochet lady! Her work is so beautiful!” I feel honored to say, “It’s all my mom that does this – not me. She is talented!”
But this year, I was surprised to get a little more.
One woman told me this story.
“I used to crochet things like this all the time. In fact, my daughters have many that I’ve made for them. But that was before my husband died. He used to love to sit out on the porch and I would sit with him, crocheting in hand. He would love to sit out there and I just wanted to be with him. Since he died… I haven’t picked it up again. I just can’t seem to do it.”
Tears filled both our eyes as she fingered one of the largest doilies, lost in remembrance. I could tell she perhaps missed the art, but simply could not bear to do it without her husband by her side. And her daughter, who’d she told me on the side, had suffered a stroke, could not stop touching the doilies as well. Perhaps, conjuring up her own memories of her father.
Then there was a woman who told me how she had taken up crocheting just to make a hat and booties set for her cousin. Tragically, the cousin lost the baby two weeks before it was born – leaving the newly crocheted pieces to be abandoned. She didn’t know what to do with it. She’d finished it, but it was for baby Jayden – how could she give it to someone else? But she tried, offering it to this cousin and that friend, but no one would take it. She felt like she had wasted her time and crocheting was also ruined for her. Her husband suggested burning the set, but she refused, holding on to it and trying to decide its fate. Then came the news – the same cousin was once again pregnant. But would it be tacky to “regift” it to the new baby? She consulted the cousin’s mother and she thought it would be accepted warmly.
When the baby was born… her cousin gave him the middle name Jayden – after his lost brother. Now this woman knew in her heart that God had saved this set just for him. No one else accepted the gift because it was meant for this family only. Her time had not been wasted – the set would be worn in remembrance of their first unborn baby in celebration of his healthy newborn brother.
Why did these people tell me these stories? Do I have a kind face? Or did the crocheted doilies merely evoke memories too deep and personal to NOT be told? I don’t know. All I know is that I felt God in these moments. It was about more than simply selling doilies. I sensed His presence and I did my best to give each of these ladies (and others that day) my utmost respect and attention because I sensed God was using me for a purpose. I was blessed by their ability and willingness to share with me even though they had never met me before. Perhaps God just opened their hearts that day to share. Perhaps they just felt they could share with someone they’d never see again.
Even though I really didn’t want to be at the craft show that day, I felt that God put me there simply as a kind and open person to receive the stories of these people. I’m blessed to have been able to be His servant that day and I pray those women also feel blessed by our encounters.