I was on the couch under a blanket, feeling suspiciously short of breath, when I figured out that what I just steamrolled through was more than a nasty cold. I finally got COVID.

I HATE being ill. The vulnerability of sickness scares me out of my mind. It’s hard enough to be managing messy symptoms, but the terror that comes with it is really rough for me, especially when I just arrived in a random apartment rather than being cosy in a familiar home. (I sold/donated/gave away 95% of my possessions and went on the road in March.)

But do you know what was the most soothing remedy for my malaise? It wasn’t the hot tea, or the cold and flu medication, or the cough sweets.

It was that blanket.

A few months ago, my friend Tracie gifted it to me. We’ve known each other about 8 years. Tracie’s nuts about crochet, and it’s a truly beautiful piece, intricately stitched in a muted rainbow variegated yarn. Her gift was a complete surprise. I was just bowled over, and I told her so.

It’s a beautiful handmade blanket, and I treasure it. I appreciate the work in it, the care in it, and the love in it. But never more so than when my world was falling apart a couple of days ago, and I was clinging to that blanket like it was my last scrap of proof that the world is a kind place. (I’m melodramatic when I’m ill.)

In the terror of sickness, the love in that blanket meant more than every stylish pillow in this apartment put together. It was a balm.

Blanket by Tracie Shroyer

Many years ago my very dear, late friend Sam had the opportunity to make a birthday cake for his karate guru, a quiet, wise, deeply respected, spiritual man.

Sam put everything he had into that cake. And at the party, someone said, “You can taste the love in this cake, Sam. It’s truly delicious.” Mission accomplished. The cake helped make the party special.

I was born in the early 1970s. I’m just old enough to remember a time when birthday parties meant wearing a special “party dress”, a long, floral thing with a white bib and long sleeves. Every girl had one, usually made by her mother or grandmother. In all my childhood privilege I remember feeling naively sorry for those poor girls who wore a “shop bought” party dress. They weren’t the same.

I remember my disappointment when more and more birthday cakes became “shop bought.” And when more and more clothes were shop bought too. It felt like something significant was being lost.

Of course, more and more families featured two working parents at that time, and they were making birthdays and kids’ wardrobes work. It’s easy to see that now. I appreciate everything that I or any of my friends was lucky enough to have.

And also… there was a love in “hand made” that was lost in the shop.

We wonder who on earth is going to care about the cake or the blanket or the dress we made, don’t we… we wonder about its value.

Whatever you make has value, but not because of the skill in it; it doesn’t have to be perfect. It has value because it has a piece of YOU in it. One person – you – hand made it over a considerable period of time. You invested your love, your energy, and your concentration in it, and all of that concentrated energy stays in it. The object you created is a three dimensional receptacle for love. It’s a charm, a spell. It’s your care made real.

There’s a love in that blanket that pulled me through a dark week. Have you ever had an experience like that?