Whilst I was making my first few shawls in the early days, my sister Pauline raced ahead with designing and crafting her own prayer shapes for church. Meanwhile, her husband, Phil was caught floundering in the wake of all this scaled up single minded activity and was feeling a tad sidelined.
So Pauline decided to make him a masculine style prayer shawl, although she had no idea how it would be received.
But to her surprise he loved it! Phil was ‘blown away’ by the gift and Pauline observed that it ‘completely changed him.’ It made him feel valued and included in the new ministry that had rather taken her over with the delight of being able to use her considerable skills in service.
Phil said it gave him new strength, comfort and a feeling of self worth. Perhaps the fact that he has suffered from a heart condition most of his life had something to do with the comfort factor.
Phil wore the shawl non stop for several days. Now he and my lovely sister wear it wrapped around them each day when they pray together. Pauline had followed the Benedictine wisdom of ‘listening with the ears of the heart.’
But not only did she listen, she also heard (different from listen) and responded. St Benedict calls this obedience.