This past week we had a Secret Santa exchange for which each and every one of the participants agonized over pleasing their secret recipient. Whether it was worrying about having enough time to complete a gift, their level of skill being good enough or color preferences; that worrisome energy transformed yarn into labors of love. Each and every hand knit gift was beautiful and a blessing to it's recipient.
As I sat there at the gathering I was taken back, back to a time that the making of gifts was a way of life. A time when making gifts was as much a necessity as it was a labor of love. A time when a young girl's imagination took her beyond the limits of store bought gifts. A time when the wonder of the holiday was wondering what those gifted hands would make. A time when closed doors and the whirring of a sewing machine behind them was too much for a young girl to bear. A time when a curious young girl would secretly find the hiding places of those treasured gifts. Those treasured memories gave way to recollections of the times when it was my turn to be the maker of a gift.
Through the years I have made an uncountable number of handmade gifts to share with my loved ones. Even my handmade gifts that were failures in a young girl's mind because they were met with giggles when unwrapped, hold a very special place in my heart. It was those "not so good" handmade gifts that gave me the determination to do better the next time, to please the people I loved in the same way they had pleased me. To make them feel the way I felt. I wanted them to feel the same magic I felt when I received their handmade gifts...a warm and energized aura that enveloped my heart. There came a point in my life when I met my goal and I knew I had met that goal because I could "feel" the appreciation with which my gifts were greeted.
As I sat there at the gathering I couldn't help but think of my mother, my grandmother and all of the women and men in my family, even those that preceded me in life, with all of the wonderful gifts that were passed from their hands into my hands. From their souls to my soul, into my mind, as it is truly more a way of thinking than it is a way of making. A blessing and a curse. A never ending way of life.
Hands and mind blessed with the ability to create things. Things made from needles and strings and threads. Things recycled from gathered objects. Things born from fire and metal. Things spread on a canvas with brushes and knives and fingers. Things given to the one so lovingly thought of as it emerged from the fiber or the metal or the paper or the canvas. Things created to honor our own maker...to mimic our natural surroundings with a quiet balance. A balance between our soul and our material existence.
And then my thoughts took me to a place it often comes to rest, why would it be that I can make things and there are others in this world that cannot? I don't know the answer to that question but I have made a promise to myself; a promise to be a good steward of these abilities for they are not my own to keep. I'm sure they will pass through me into someone else...even if that someone else doesn't know it yet or is not yet on this earth.