Margaret was suffering from a deep debilitating depression. I met her for the first time in an outpatient support group. We were talking about how to survive and thrive through the holidays in spite of sadness and depression.
We talked about things and people to avoid, where the best focus could be, how this Christmas would be different from last year and where to find comfort and support. Margaret was fixated on how she would appear to her family if she didn’t show up at the large Christmas gathering she usually helped to support by her presence and food. I challenged her to try to let go of the expectations of others and of herself. Tears flowed freely. I spent a bit of extra time with her after our group dispersed. She shared more, and we parted in a spirit of hope.
A week later, I received a note from Margaret. She wanted to meet with me again. I had in the back of my mind that she wanted to share how Christmas had been for her. On my way to the consult, I picked up a quilt. I wanted it to be a little “Christmasy” but not overtly so. I found a beautiful quilt in olive green and burgundy. In the center of the quilt was a counted cross stitch picture of bird houses and bees. It was magnificent!
We met once again, but this time her spiritual distress came from an inability to forgive a person who had promised to come see her in the hospital after he had promised to do so, not once but several times. Margaret was obsessed with this person's breaking of a promise. We talked of grace, forgiveness and a change of perspective. Near the end of our session, I told her that I had a gift for her and opened up the quilt for her to see.
With tears in her eyes, she asked, “What prompted you to pick this one?”
“I’m not exactly sure. Sometimes I just feel drawn to something in the quilt and don’t even know why.”
“When I looked at the quilt, I see the freedom that the bees have…” she pensively remarked.
“Which is probably why God chose this one for you. God wants to free you to forgive, extend grace and to have a change in perspective. You know, Margaret, most of the time, we are unable to change ourselves. That’s why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the one who makes the changes. Our job is to be open and surrender to God’s work in us.”
“Whenever I see these bees, I am going to remember our meeting and how much God wants to free me from the things that stand in the way of my growing…”
I held her hands, and we prayed together.