Sep 11, 2018

Peace and Healing

As I think back to the horrible roots of this day...September 11, 2001...I think back to the horrors, the loss, the grief and the mourning of a nation.

But I also remember, the goodness of those lives we lost, the heroes from that incredible day of tragedy.....those amazing and courageous people who rose above and beyond themselves to help others..... the patriotism, and the amazing sense of unity that manifested so much caring, and so much good in the world. Goodness in direction of helping and giving.

It was this coming together with love and patriotism that spread a healing balm for such deep pain. The pain of loss, of separation, of the polarization of so much ill will and so much fear and hatred contrasted by so much intense emotions of love over hate, helping others over fear and anger.

So, I look at myself, as we all need to do, and take note of how and why quilting is a healing art in my own life. And all of these days of record and note, I do what I usually do...I quilt for a cause. 9-11 has become a day of remembrance of community, and patriotism in the deepest unifying sense of the word.

So, while I might not always be working on a patriotic quilt for donation to wounded soldiers, I am working on community quilting..whether by myself, or in a group...and whatever I am making gets donated within that community of purpose.

When I first began blogging in the fall of 2006, my quilting life centered around community quilting. I sewed with a local band of quilters that was formed after a two day marathon of sewing quilts for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

200 quilts banded together with donated fabrics, patterns, threads and the most patriotic sense of community support that I have ever experienced. We made 200 quilts in those two days and we sewed on our bindings and labels and boxed them off for shipment in donated shipping trucks for transport to Louisiana, Georgia, and other hurricane ravaged states.

It was so uplifting, so inspirational, that we found a local church that gave us the use of a huge quilting space and began to meet every Monday for 12 hours. I would stay there from 9 am until 7 pm and literally sewed every minute making a quilt a week for continued donation.

When Hurricane Rita quickly followed Katrina, we just kept sewing. And when the weather calmed down,we sewed for Inter-faith charities, for babies in hospitals, for families in need, for Habitat for Humanity etc. etc.

By the following year, I was also sewing for 5 or 6 hours on Tuesdays, too. And I did that for another 6 months until we decided Mondays were enough and we could just sew at home for the other 6 days of the week.

9-11 hit all of us with a blast that changed a lot of us forever. I began my Patriotic sewing period where I literally made dozens and dozens of quilts and bags to give away to various causes.

My community spirit grew with all of this nurturing and feeding and so, I also joined my local quilt guild. There we have leftover and donated fabrics also available and between all of us, we donate probably 50-100 quilts a month to various groups, as well as hundreds of pillowcases for children in foster care, and lots and lots and lots of potholders to raise funds for our charitable causes.

So, what arose from that terrible day for me?


Community pride, community giving, community quilting.

It brings all of the layers of ourselves and our lives together, softens our spirits with caring and reaching out to others, and it binds us all together as one. And that goodness of humanity, can only grow and grow and grow....until it almost seems to sprout goodness out of nowhere and everywhere!

shown above;
my beloved little Keira and the 'morsbags' (part of a big international  group started in the UK) I used to make to give away. I spontaneously would make a dozen and hand tnem out to friends, and to people I've never met who just seem to need an environmentally friendly cloth bag. I made dozens and dozens and dozens.

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

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