It's such a small change. Stitching this little heart onto this piece...
Yet despite its diminutive size, or the fact that it only took 10 minutes to stitch, or the fact that it will be hidden from view when the piece is complete...
The placement of the heart on this block has caused a shift in me. I now feel that heart is a guide helping me to tell her story.
I don't know why I woke up this morning and felt compelled to place it there. Or why I feel compelled to blog about this today, for I most definitely feel that compulsion.
Perhaps it's because I've subconsciously been influenced by the foresight of Carol's comment the other day when she noted the austerity of the piece and then said, "It will be interesting to see how you'll add the warmth that I know is coming." Carol has been a friend to this blog almost since its inception and she knows me only too well.
Evidently, I needed some warmth sooner rather than later...
Perhaps it's serendipitous that I stitched it today, on Valentine's Day. Or that when I walked into my favorite used book store a few weeks ago, this little red leather bound book caught my eye. Without looking inside, I brought it home...mainly because I wanted to know what it was...The Greatest Thing in the World...
It turns out that I had bought a runaway bestseller and didn't know it. That's because it was written in 1874 and has sold over 12 million copies.
And it begins...
EVERY one has asked himself the great question of antiquity as of the modern world: What is the summum bonum--the supreme good? You have life before you. Once only you can live it. What is the noblest object of desire, the supreme gift to covet?
It is a powerful book that explores and defends Paul's 1Corinthians 13 and the ultimate Gift of Love. The book is broken into three parts.
In the first, Love is contrasted to all other contenders for "The Greatest Gift" such as Faith; in the second part, Love is analysed. This is my favorite part and where Drummond explains St. Paul's defintion of Love...
It is like light. As you have seen a man of science take a beam of light and pass it through a crystal prism, as you have seen it come out on the other side of the prism broken up into its component colours--red, and blue, and yellow, and violet, and orange, and all the colours of the rainbow--so Paul passes this thing, Love, through the magnificent prism of his inspired intellect, and it comes out on the other side broken up into its elements. And in these few words we have what one might call the Spectrum of Love, the analysis of Love. Will you observe what its elements are? Will you notice that they have common names; that they are virtues which we hear about every day; that they are things which can be practised by every man in every place in life; and how, by a multitude of small things and ordinary virtues, the supreme thing, the summum bonum, is made up?
The Spectrum of Love has nine ingredients:--
Patience . . . . . . "Love suffereth long."
Kindness . . . . . . "And is kind."
Generosity . . . . "Love envieth not."
Humility . . . . . . "Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."
Courtesy . . . . . . "Doth not behave itself unseemly."
Unselfishness . . "Seeketh not her own."
Good Temper . . "Is not easily provoked."
Guilelessness . . "Thinketh no evil."
Sincerity . . . . . . "Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth."
The third and final section of the very small book, is Love defended. Basically, it doesn't matter to Drummond if we are faithless, without religion or have very little concern for our own soul. It's irrelevant. What is relevant is how we care for humankind.
The book is full, rich and profoundly spiritual. And it has made it to my list of most influential books. Hands down, it trumps the hundreds of contemporary self-help books in bookstores today.
It only takes an hour or two to read and yet, there is too much material for reflection to possibly absorb in one sitting. It's a book I find myself returning to again and again. Like a guidebook or a favorite prayer.
Which gets me back to Mrs. Rose who was nearing the end of her life here on Earth when I visited her.
She had very few material possessions left. Just one-half of a rented room she shared with a dying roommate. One chair, her prayerbook, her rosary, her glasses. A daughter who visited her and brought her new toiletries when she ran out.
Not much at all in the earthly goods column.
Buy what she did have was boatloads of the summum bonum...
The Greatest Thing in the World.
Happy Valentine's Day.
P.S. Speaking of hearts, this one took my breath away.