Monday, July 14, 2014

Rob claimed our walk-in closet early in our marriage.
You see he had a major t-shirt collection and therefore, needed a lot of room to organize his shirts by team, color, sport, school and so on...
You could often find him ducking into campus bookstores while traveling for work so he could purchase just one more college basketball shirt. Just one more...
Several months after his death, I began the bittersweet task of handling his clothes. I 
carefully packed his beloved collection to make future quilts for the family.  Camp Tallowood was looming and as I looked at the pile of tribe shirts from years past, I knew I needed to take a piece of Rob with me.  Well, it ended up more than a piece, didn't it?
My heart nearly broke the first evening when I began to put scissors to each shirt. "How can I be doing this? Rob should be wearing these; I shouldn't be ripping them apart like my heart!" But each cut got easier and I found a little healing with each seam.
Through tear-filled eyes, I managed to add heartfelt, personal messages that are forever hidden in the layers.
Rob arrived at our first year at Camp Eagle on crutches, one week postop after an Achilles tendon repair. Not the sanest thing he ever did, but he was not going to miss this new adventure! Needing the assistance of a four-wheeler, we waited on top of the mountain after the Thursday hike, gazing at the stars and hoping it would take a while for our vehicle to return. The clear sky was filled with stars that hung so low we thought we could reach up and touch them. We never forgot that miraculous night and always looked forward to God's handiwork each year.
As I arranged the colorful squares, I traveled through years of camp themes, memory verses, amazing students and co-sponsors, funny moments, holy moments. Oh, how I wished I could pack the Robisons, the Forehands, the Catings and so many more beautiful friends from years past along with this quilt that represented much more than yards of cotton. 
The piecing of Rob's shirts helped me say goodbye to the past; the final "tying off" step allowed me to focus solely on the present. Each night, as camp neared, I took the list of campers and sponsors and prayed for each participant as I secured the layers of the quilt with surgical knots. I think God was doing some stitching of His own on my broken heart. 
Camp week arrived and I carefully packed Rob's quilt along with the uncertainty of how I would make it through without him.  
At the end of each full day,  I crawled into my bottom bunk and covered my weary body and heart with  remnants of my precious husband's love affair with summer youth camp.  My dear friend, Debbie, wrote wise words in her beautiful post about the Comforter. She got it right; I was not only wrapped in Rob's t-shirts, but even more so in the love, protection, and provision of an amazing God.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOVE

cal+claire said...

Yes. And God will continue to stitch and comfort your heart. It may feel like it takes forever, but He who began this work in you will be faithful to complete it