In Fond Memory of Betty Mcleod
" At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
- Albert Schweitzer
I recently anticipated a significant birthday's approach with some reticence. Usually birthdays come and go but for some strange reason this particular one struck a bit of a sour chord with me. It brought with it tides of nostalgia along with thoughts of accomplishments past and goals I still wished to fulfill. For once in a very long time I became rather self-involved mulling over the pros and cons of my life. Not always a bad thing.....but it did prove to be a distraction which took me away from other tasks and social interactions for a short while.
Last weekend, on the morning of my said birthday, I received an e-mail notifying me of the death of a well respected teacher, friend and former colleague. It did not come as a shock as the lady concerned was well into her late nineties and had not been well for a while. However, her passing gave me even more significant food for thought.
I recalled a time when I was Vice President of CEG London and this dear lady, who was one of the founders of the guild was active on one of my committees. She always had sage advice and I sat down with her one afternoon to discuss some ongoing growing pains the guild was experiencing. After business was out of the way, our conversation turned to our stitching projects and personal lives. Betty had not long lost her husband after many years of a solid, fulfilling marriage and yet she remained positive and resolute in her outlook. She marvelled at all the years she had enjoyed with her husband, their travels together and the many things that she had accomplished in her life.
Betty had devoted years to liturgical embroidery and vestment making. She had outfitted more reverends and high priests with wardrobes than I have probably had hot dinners. She was the first Artist in Residence appointed by the Dean for St. Paul's Cathedral, London, Ontario. One entire chapel in the cathedral is dedicated to her work including ten meticulously detailed embroideries depicting the life of St. Aidan. When I viewed the chapel some years ago, I marvelled at the volume of her art and it seemed to me then to be a life's work in itself.
As this dear lady, a well preserved ninety years of age, sat across the table from me, I distinctly remember her words. She touched my arm and said, " You know Léonie, I really worry if I will ever have enough time to complete all the work I still want to do. I have so many ideas in my head that I still want to interpret into fabric and thread and I wonder if I will be able to get it all done before my time is up. "
Those words are resonating with me now as I ponder my foolish fretting over aging and birthdays. As the saying goes " With the good Lord willing and the creek don't rise" I still have a lot to look forward to and like Betty, I hope to interpret the thoughts
and creative ideas buzzing in my head until I draw my last breath.
Thanks old friend for helping me rekindle that flame......