What’s your canvass of choice?

Kathleen Kjolhaug
Friday, March 8, 2019
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Theology in the Trenches Religion Columnist

Yet another small manila envelope arrived by parcel post. It’s the third one now. I know not the individual who unites, but I’m beginning to.

It all began when a group of people had gathered this past fall. As we gathered, each one was gifted a manila envelope. Within each was a heart made from once pliable clay attached to a decorative piece of wood, and the ribbon for placing it round our necks had been selectively chosen. The explanation read that it was from our sister who could not be there. The artist forming each work of art, helped to form our hearts that very day.

Mesmerized that a complete stranger would utilize their time and talent as such, I jotted a thank you to the giver. Months later, in response to my thank you, came yet another little manila envelope with a treasure within. This time, the note was thanking those who had taken time to send thanks and only those who had done so were receiving the second enveloped gift.

I followed with another thank you in order to bless the giver. You see, I was taught manners as such, and didn’t think twice. Yet, I was the one receiving a thank you for my thank you. I prayed my words, the medium of art I use to paint upon my canvass in life, would in turn be a gift.

That was months ago. Now before me sat the third manila envelope which had recently arrived in our country mailbox. This time, however, I savored it for just the right moment. Days passed until I knew the time was right. Delicately, I sliced open the top of the envelope in order to peer within. Opening it brought a sense of child like wonder and anticipation as to what it might hold.

Soon, upon my kitchen countertop did drop the contents. Not only did a Valentine’s Day card meet and greet me, but two small packages of fruit snacks found their way into my fists. Smiling, I picked them up and placed them within my grandma bag of treasures for the grands. Noticing a small soft lump still in the package, I gently lifted it out.

Cupped within my left hand, I slowly unwound the ribbon that bound the little lump. As I unveiled it, a piece of heart-shaped red woolen cloth came into view. The holy moment brought into focus that which had been sacredly stitched for such a time as this. Embedded within the woolen heart were threads of pink, red, yellow, and blue weaving a tapestry upon the giver’s canvass of choice. Layered atop the colorful threads were pearl-pink hand-stitched beads.

The red woolen heart, the colorful weavings within it, the layer of decorative beads atop and the twelve inches of red ribbon dangling from it reached out. The words upon the card read, “It’s a ‘heart day,’ it’s a Benedictine Day.”

What is a Benedictine Day? It is simple, and it is scriptural from one of the many saints who has gone before us … and it is the Greatest of all … breathing upon the least of these.

“Love the Lord God with your whole heart, your whole soul and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37-39; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27).

Have yourself a “Benedictine Day” … a day in the wilderness … a Christ centered day as you paint upon your canvass of choice. Amen.

( Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)