Saturday, 14 December 2013

Was I doing the right thing?

I asked myself this yesterday - and the day before.
One of our neighbours is a devout person, a regular attender at her church and actively involved in its community. It is attached to the convent community that our friend Polly lives in. They seem to do things there - and, while not my sort of thing, I admire them for it.
The neighbour talked to me at length about how she and some of her friends there might become more practically involved in assisting refugees and, as she put it, "use their talents". They were not looking to give money or raise money but to try and help in other ways. Tutoring in English is one obvious way but, she thought, there might be others as well.
We discussed it. As she had asked for suggestions I made some.
There was one thing I did not think of however. Her talent for dressmaking. I should have thought of this. Her two small granddaughters have a wonderful collection of clothes made by her - colourful, practical and up-to-date.
And then I mentioned my discussion with her to some other people I know. Some of them have different views on the topic and there was another lively discussion about how people could be best helped.
One of the women from the second discussion works in a local charity shop. She claims doing this helps her more than it helps them. Yes, she does need to get out of the house. She lost her husband a few weeks after he retired. Their plans to travel, redesign their garden together and other things came to nothing. Instead she kept the garden much as it had always been and spent more time helping her daughter and her grandchildren. There was another baby on the way.
The baby was born with serious health problems. For ten months the family almost lived at the hospital but they still lost the baby. It was then this woman turned to the charity shop "for my own comfort and sanity".
Two days ago she was there and she asked me quietly, "Can you come out the back for a moment?"
I wondered what was wrong but she brought out a small bag and said,
"I could just put this in the shop but it seems wrong. I have sewed for the others since L... left us but I can't do this. I keep taking it out thinking I will do it for someone else's child but I can't make myself do it. Do you know someone who could make something and pass it on to someone who needs it."
She gave me three pieces of "little girl" fabric and a simple, practical pattern. I took it and told her I would pass it on.
Pedalling home I thought about the people I know who still sew but the answer was obvious - our neighbour. I know she was thinking in terms of perhaps tutoring someone in English - something she could most certainly - but here was something else she could do too.
I still hesitated because they lost her brother-in-law to suicide earlier in the year. This is the time of year when things like that will hit hard all over again.
But, I decided to do it. Our neighbour was not home then. She was when I went over yesterday morning. She invited me in and I explained why I was there and showed her what I had. She reached for a tissue and then said,
"Tell her, I'll make something very special from these and see someone who needs them gets them."
It wasn't what she planned but who knows where it will lead?

4 comments:

Steve Finnell said...
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Judy Edmonds said...

My sister in law does a lot of charity knitting, and I think that 'charity sewing' is an excellent thing to do too. Tutoring in English is a very practical and helpful thing (I recently met someone who is actually employed to teach English to recent arrivals to Australia of all kinds) but I think that having something nice. made with love, would be wonderful for them as well.

kristieinbc said...

I think it was a wonderful idea! It helped the lady from the thrift shop, it will help some refugee child at a future point, and I'm sure it also helped the lady you left it with. A win-win-win scenario. Bravo!

Philip C James said...

Bravo Zulu! But why differentiate between teaching and sewing? Teach them to sew or knit.. After all...

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you'll ensure he'll tell tall fishing tales for life..."