I remembered the quilts folded in closets, spread across beds and laid on floors as pallets. I remembered sleeping soundly tucked under their heavy warmth. To my young eyes they were just fabric scraps stitched together, a colorful hodgepodge, a mosaic of everyday life.
So as I stood with my husband in the Baltimore Museum of Art, I marveled at how what I considered such an ordinary part of my life now hung as art, admired and coveted by museums all over the world. Someone recognized the powerful beauty and impact of the stories of these quilts and the women who made them.
What do you have? An ability? An idea? A story? Your presence? It seems so ordinary and inconsequential to you yet it may have the power to shift the world around you for the good and the glory of God.
Sometimes our reflections are muddied by distraction and discouragement but I’m grateful God always sends reinforcements to remind us for whom and for what we’ve been created. Let this be your reminder. Don’t underestimate or diminish the impact of the “ordinary.”
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” -2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT
It’s that time of the year again to celebrate all things poetic. I’ve been celebrating all month with the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day. And as I’ve begun to diligently work on my own book of poetry, I can’t let the month end without paying homage to a poet who has inspired me.
I’ve been in awe of Maya Angelou since I was a teenager reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. And I made it my mission to memorize her affirming Phenomenal Woman, regularly performing it in front of my bedroom mirror. So imagine my excitement, reading Cicely Tyson’s memoir (Just As I Am, a breathtaking read full of history and wisdom) and coming upon a quote from a poem by Ms. Angelou with which I was unfamiliar. This poem resonated deeply as I thought of my Gran Gran and all of the great souls who have passed.
A family tree is more than names on paper, it’s a collection of stories, a saga of generations. Who were these people? What did they do? How did they live? I religiously watch Henry’s Louis Gates’ Finding Your Roots on PBS. I’m fascinated by genealogy. I adored the family sagas of Alex Haley’s Roots (the book & the movie) and Lalita Tademy’s Cane River. Some folks say,”The past is the past, what’s the use? What good does it do?” And I say, can you imagine finding out that a distant relative, an ancestor, shared your passion for writing, inventing or business? What could you learn from their successes… or failures? It might change your outlook, give you a little get up and go. My maternal great grandfather was a man named James “March of Dimes” Jones. He raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the March of Dimes over the course of thirty years. As a kid, I’d heard stories about him, saw pictures, even traveled the street named for him in Florence, SC. But I never realized the impact of his legacy until my husband recently found newspaper articles, photos, and a book (March of Dimes by David W. Rose) highlighting his efforts. I know that his generous spirit and philanthropic vision has lived on in the lives of his descendants and his story is a gift to future generations. My interest has been piqued. I want to know, I want my children and grandchildren to know the amazing cast of characters that make up their history, the good (inspirations) and the bad (cautionary tales). What’s the big deal about history? I wonder if the Rockefellers ever asked that question.