“. . .it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
As Bilbo made his dash to join the adventuring dwarves and lose his reputation of being respectfully predictable, one of his first laments was missing his pocket-handkerchiefs. I have enjoyed the humor of that little scene recently as I made a batch of them for our family to try out. Inspired by a friend’s table and hankering for a bit of sewing, I’ve become interested in making everyday cloth napkins for our family. Considering my abundance of narrow quilting remnants, I decided to start on a smaller scale with some hankies. (We like them, but I won’t go into the blow-by-blow.)
Making something useful out of something that I already had–and wasn’t using–is always a personal joy, but there’s been more to this project than wiping kissers and sneezers. A sense of home. A new family tradition. In this time of releasing so much of our family’s way of doing life, my heart is hungry to tuck another feather in the nest we are making in Costa Rica. Like Bilbo, I enjoy my comfort. Yes, I am glad we won’t have to buy paper napkins and as many tissues in the future, or send our landfills another offering. But mostly I think of meals that we will eat, conversations shared, and prayers made over that cloth for years to come. When we move from our home of 7 years to an apartment in San Jose for 8-10 months of language school, and later to a rental house in Atenas to serve at the Home of Life, they will lay on the table as a thread of continuity. A little luxury speaking the truth that the life our family shares is not defined by the space we share it in.
Today I spent some of my Christmas money on yards of beautiful fabric, a peaceful swirl of blues and greens for most days, a black print for spaghetti dinners. And as we continue to move through the next few months letting go of what doesn’t fit with our calling, I will be stitching on the background for new memories. I’m channeling my inner Bilbo, fluffing up my faith to set out upon this journey, and tucking away a little comfort for the road.
Photograph and a Tutorial on Napkin Making at Blissfully Content.