Thursday, July 21, 2011

Then you let go

A few weeks ago, while visiting my mother who lives in a lovely room at a heath care center nearby, I was asked to help her mail a package to the White House.

The White House. On Pennsylvania Avenue. In Washington, D.C. Where the President lives. That White House.

Knowing my mother as I do, I wasn't at all surprised. She has long been an Obama supporter; indeed, an ardent admirer.

But although she agrees with President Obama's politics, it is not he who has won her admiration as much as our country's First Lady, Michelle Obama. And it was to Mrs. Obama that she wanted a package sent.

Upon the election of President Obama, my mother sent a hand-written note to Mrs. Obama, congratulating her family, wishing them well, and assuring her of her continued prayers for their family.

My mother knew hers would be among hundreds of other well wishes. So when she received a letter of appreciation from the White House, personally addressed and signed by Mrs. Obama, she was thrilled. It was unexpected.

The treasured letter has been framed, and now adorns her room at the care center.

The package she wanted me to mail for her contained a lovely piece of her exquisite Hardanger embroidery, stitched in white. She explained that one day, as she was stitching, it was "laid on her heart" to send this piece to Mrs. Obama, as a token of esteem.

Hardanger embroidery is my mother's passion. She does exquisite stitching, involving hours and hours of delicate work.  If you have a piece of Hardanger she has made, you have the highest gift she can give. It is a part of her, and her Scandinavian heritage.

Although I did not take a photo of the elegant piece sent to Mrs. Obama, it is similar to this one, stitched with white thread on white fabric, as is characteristic of Hardanger.

We enclosed a note to accompany the piece, explaining what it was, and that it was stitched and sent with my mother's very high regard for the First Lady.

Now we are wondering about the process the gift will undergo before ever arriving before Mrs. Obama's eyes. Scrutinized through layers of security: radar, perhaps sniffing dogs, chemical analysis of the fabric, verification of its authenticity as Hardanger, verification that Hardanger is Scandinavian needle art, as we have claimed, and on and on.

We get ridiculous as we wonder what stage it is at today, and if Mrs. Obama has yet actually received it.

But we both agree:  It was a gift sent with love, freely given, and my mother enjoyed the creating and the giving.

Then you let go.

And isn't that what true giving really is?