Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blanket of Love

If you look at my first post on the blog - the handsome young man in the hospital bed at Duke, you may notice a white blanket with a small blue design.

[Right next to the urinal hanging on the bedrail - thanks Donna for framing the photo that way:} -I'm not sure the call button worked properly since the nurses did not answer in a timely manner. The care was so excellent and the nurses were constantly going in and out of the room so I never gave the call light malfunction a second thought. Besides, if I really needed them, I would just yell out "Coach K", "Coach K", a few times ... they would come pronto.]

Anyway, the blanket I speak of is a prayer blanket given to me from a member of a Centering Prayer Group at St. Andrew and prayed over by that group (and others). The member's name is Ernestine Soller, but she should answer to "saint"or "angel", because that is what she is.

At a time in life when a lot of us would be taking it easy and spending time with kids and grandkids, Ernestine is constantly at work sewing these blankets and giving them out to any and all who ask. The blanket represents and takes on the appearance of God's agape love and as the letter accompanying the blanket states, "when you hold this blanket, remember that you are not alone. We lift you up in prayer before the Lord and hope that it will be transformed into the very fabric of our pleas for God's healing on your behalf."

Imagine. The thread is woven, the prayers are woven in them.

I have given a blanket to others like myself who had medical procedures and a young family who lost a child. The last time I saw her, Ernestine was excited because she would making blankets for 40 soldiers in the Middle East.

I cannot comprehend what it must be lide to lose a child, but I can for combat. Someone once said that war involves living within the confines of very long periods of boredom filled with very short periods of complete terror. The problem is of course is that you don't know when those periods will come...but they do and life is cycled into very short horizons. Each moment's continuation is dependent on a lottery beyond dominion.

And that's where Ernestine's prayer blanket comes in. The thoughts between the periods are reflected thoughts - never realized in the moment, but only after. In this reflection everyone looks for meaning - something good, something to hold on to. I hope they realize that the prayer blanket packed and waiting for them in their rucksacks is that something. A concrete form of God. A concrete form of prayer.

God bless her.


  1. Jim,
    What a lovely tribute to Ernestine and her grace-full craft. I'm noticing that lots of congregations, of all faith traditions, are taking up the practice. It's a great way to remind us all that we are not alone.

    If I may I'd like to add to your take on the wovenness of the blanket--cotton spun into thread woven into material, joined with more thread, touched with hands and hearts of prayer, a symbol of all our lives woven together in one grand tapestry. Ernestine's prayer quilts, carrying love far and wide are really a wonderful sign of our oneness, as you said, a concrete sign.

    I just caught up with the blog today. Love the family picture--thanks for that. Look under the blankets and in between cushions for the remote.

    Being a practitioner of "mother magic" which means knowing what the children are doing when they are quiet behind your back, I can tell you you're OK with the smile. And you really don't need to know what it meant--the glass of water tells you all. Besides, we live immersed in mystery.

    May you continue to heal. We miss you much at Centering Prayer and hope you are back soon!! But only as soon as is good for you.

    Meanwhile, know you are in our prayers, and your family too!

    with prayer and affection

  2. Hi Jim, Not efficient with this blog thing - but pretty good at text messaging with the grandchildren. Know you're with us in the silence and not so silence of CP. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Hope this goes through. Namaste, Claudia