I sat there in the chair, hunched over needle and thread. Squinting through fuzzy white hairs at the stuffing that peeked out of the tear, just at the seam of the arm. The head of the needle hit its mark and slid easily through the thin, fraying fabric. Luckily it wasn’t frayed too far, and I was able to put some space between the new stitches and the thin, ragged machine-woven fibers at the edge of the hole, ensuring that the teddy’s arm would have a few good years of play left. The millimeters lost wouldn’t matter to the eyes of the children that played at my feet, setting up their waiting room and “talking” with the patients that had come for appointments. All they would know is that the holes were all fixed, good as new.This simple moment lingered. Sun filtering through morning windows. Children who should have been in classrooms were sitting at the feet of their mother, watching holes being mended with the patient and meticulous threading of a needle. I’m ashamed to admit, a task only taken up once or twice a year. Usually the holes remain. The arms stay worn. The neck seams are handled with care. The popped off noses and unraveling smiles are left slumped in the corner until Mommy can find the time to mend the holes.
But now there is time.
Time to see the many, many holes that need mended. The many, many cherished treasures that we have let pile up in the corners until we get around to it. The duct tape and the crayon-scrawled signs that we have just lived with, reading “handle with care,” “fragile,” “do not touch” all because less holy things have torn away all of that precious time.
But no longer.
Now the holes are ready. Ready to be seen. Ready to be addressed. To be carefully examined and tended to and mended…for good.
The empty holes around the dinner table, children and families lost to the god of sports and activities and busyness.
The gaping holes in marriages where love and passion once thrived, now the real stuff of life and loss and parenthood and adulthood, peering through frayed and weary edges.
The holes in our diets and nutrition, the gaps in our overdrawn calendars, the cavernous wasteland of silence and peace, lost among the noise of our lives.
And that great vacuum of a black hole that hides in the deep recesses of our hearts. The one that we fill with selfies and makeup and shopping and girlfriends and wine and Netflix and Team colors and our children’s accomplishments and promotions and family photos and social media and all the things, all the things, all the things…only to look day after day into emptiness. Trying to fill it again.
But now. Now is your holy moment. And this quarantine is your chair. (Sit your butt down.) And your family is your treasure. And these holes are crying out to be seen, and brought close, and made whole again. Because NOTHING right now is more important than that.
Not the schoolwork. Not the cooking. Not the TV shows. Not the bills. Those will all still be there, pandemic or no pandemic. But these holy moments of stillness and togetherness? These days filled with margin and empty calendars and long hugs and PJs? They are a gift.