Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Heart of Mrs. Rose

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.

24 comments:

gracie said...

Whenever I visit with you, I leave with a lovely feeling...so it is today, on Valentine's day that I do once again. Thank you for being you....

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Thank you.

What is relevant is how we care for mankind. How long does it take one to discover that, which is not a secret, yet elusive? That one sentence explains what will give the greatest satisfaction in our life if we will only listen.

I love the heart. It doesn't matter if the design covers it. It's symbolic of the heart you put into this art piece.

Happy Valentine's Day.
xx, Carol

Rachel said...

Even if you cover it, you - and we - will always know that it is there, and it is clearly the key to everything in this piece!

Sweetpea said...

Oh my dear, Susan, I hope you never stop telling stories...
this is fine...OH, so, so fine and I will revisit it when I'm in need of heartfelt fortification.

Thank you ~ for all your sweet and caring words and needlework.

Mosaic Magpie said...

Thank you for the link to Sweetpea Path....I was blessed.
Deb

Linda H said...

Sending lots of LOVE your way today, dearest Susan. That sweet little heart you have added to your piece - as Rachel above said- we will always know it's there, even when covered (much like the hearts I have stitched on the chests of many Raggedy Annes and Andys). Although I'm sure you still have many great plans for this piece, it already emanates the special feelings of love that you had for this very special lady, Mrs. Rose,. Can't wait to see what comes next...

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Oh Susan ~ What a lovely post today. I love the heart added and even though it will be hidden it will still be there, radiating love.

What a wonderful book you got. It sounds like one I would love to read. I Corinthians 13 is a great chapter of the Bible.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day,

FlowerLady

Margaret said...

Simply, thank you.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Shirley said...

So glad I visited today....

serendipity is my favourite word

Paul's 1Corinthians 13 is my favourite verse

Love is all that matters in all its shapes and forms.

Happy Valentines day.

Shirley x

cucki said...

So much thank you
Big hugs x

Roberta said...

A perfect post for Valentines Day.

Createology said...

My heart is filled with love today and my soul is enriched by my visit reading your post. Mrs. Rose guided you to stitch this beautiful tiny heart on her block. Happy Valentine Heart Hugs Dear...

Gabriela said...

Happy Valentine's Day!I love that chair and the heart is just the best touch!

Catherine said...

Amazing post ~ you always say just the right words to leave a smile on my face and things to ponder in my head. Thank you...
I love the fact that once this piece is done, we will know that the heart is still there.

Queen Bee's Musings said...

What a blessing you have shared. And a beautiful treasured you have in your heart. Thank you.

Heather said...

Susan, I have come here today because of the lovely post you left on my blog.... thank you!... but I must say, it will not be my last visit to your blog, as I love stitching too! Beautiful job here, it will take me a bit to get through your other posts... as a lover of books too, first I would have been struck both by the colour, the name and the antiquity of the book you have purchased, delightful and what luck... but then, is luck ever just luck or is it fate in the waiting... there is a reason for everything that happens in life! Cheers~

Heather said...

Oh, and might I say... your work is stunning!!! Cheers~

Suztats said...

Beautiful, thought-provoking post! Thank you. What a wonderful place it would be if we all exercised our hearts more often!

Judy S. said...

Another wonderful post, Susan. We've been gone and am just now getting a little bit caught up. I love what you're doing with this project. Who cares it you can't see that heart? You can't see mine either, but it's there...and will as you say be the heartbeat of it all.

Jillayne said...

so much to think about here.... I love the idea of the prism and love coming out into it's elements - I will look for this little book and hopefully some day I will find it too. Until then I will copy out some of what you have written as a reminder to me.
The heart hidden is a wonderful idea.... I have to say I never really wondered about the coming warmth or the present coolness. I suppose I always believed that would come with Rose, whether you would stitch her, herself, or through things like her chair, that spoke of her. I guess maybe it's because where we are doesn't really matter to me, it's who we are and what we think and feel and share that are what really surround us - does that make sense?

Cheryl @ Bingle Bears said...

What a beautiful and heartfelt post. Thank you SO much for sharing this.

Warmly,
Cheryl

Allison Aller said...

The photo of the book with the chair and heart in the background...it is my favorite of any you have taken. So beautiful, Susan...thank you....

Mo Crow said...

what a beautiful heart for Mrs. Rose, it gives this piece so much Muchness!

Coeur de freesia said...

Look at the painting from Matisse : Jazz Icare.
Without the red point, this painting has nothing interesting. The vibes come from this point.
This little red heart will give to your work the perfect touch !!
Have a nice week,
Elena

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