Metaphoric Hugs

Her email address was @lovejoypeace. It caught my attention as I had just viewed a multitude of political campaign ads aired on the local channel and was feeling annoyed and a bit agitated by it all. I needed a little bit of positivity. As mid-term elections approach, the negative ads bombard us adding to the already strained and polarized population.

On a recent Saturday morning, I met with a long-time friend of mine who I had not seen for months for a long overdue catch-up on life conversation. What she shared with me moved me in such a way that I felt like it should be shared. My friend Marlys is a quilter…but no ordinary quilter. She travels the globe; all over the US, Kenya, Madagascar…enjoying the comradery of fellow quilters. It was her next trip to Seattle to once again be a part of the American Hero Quilts community of quilters that captured my attention and curiosity. This wasn’t the first time to set off for this endeavor; she makes it at least twice a year to make the “red, white and blue” quilts crafted with love and appreciation. These are then given to the wounded service men and woman who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The community of people who arrive to help with the quilts are both men and women, some who are experienced crafters and others who have no idea how to even thread a needle. They are all from varying economic backgrounds, race and different political views. What this cohesive group has in common, however, is the passion and purpose to reach a common goal — coming together to give back, spread love, give metaphoric hugs.

Started in 2004, American Hero Quilts has sent over 100 quilts every month to Madigan Hospital at Joint Base Lewis McCord, other Warrior Transition Centers in the US and directly to bases in Afghanistan. As of the first of the year 2018, over 26,500 quilts were provided to deserving men, women and their families. The quilts are meant to not only provide warmth and protection (for some, while lying on the tarmac waiting for an aircraft to quickly retrieve them and transport them safely out of the combat zone) but also to provide a sense of security, a reminder of home … a metaphoric hug.

It was an interesting conversation indeed but also a reminder of the importance of community of people, human kindness and the hope that despite all of the negativity and polarization that seeps into our lives, there is so much Good happening out there … as a community of humankind.

In November, we all have a responsibility to cast our votes for those individuals or parties we believe will help guide our nation on a path that serves to meet our varied beliefs; Oneness does not have to be sameness. However, we must not lose sight of the common goal … love, joy, and peace.

We are truly Better Together.

Article by Susan Dieken Kaye

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