Lori is a dancer and performance artist as well as the coordinator of Threads. She is a delight on so many levels, and right now I am remembering an Easter story that Lori told recently on the night of the Keep Threads Hanging On Auction. Here is what she said:
“People just want to be loved. as long as that is true there will continue to be children who need to be clothed.
So thank you for helping make that happen. I really love how so many of the auction items don’t have a starting bid. Instead they are marked as ‘priceless’, which is what Threads is – ‘priceless’.”
Lori continues, “Just this week we have served 42 children – ten were here this morning! The Saturday morning the children were all refugees—and no surprise they are artists— and they are the ones who painted the windows of Threads!
A couple of days ago, we served 32 children including Quinton. Quinton is about nine years old, and he and his grandmother and brothers and sisters came in pulling empty suitcases with a voucher that they had received from our newest referral partner, Markus Autism Center.
The grandmother explained to me that they had their suitcases because they were on their way to Michigan.
MICHIGAN! I Cried, I’M FROM MICHIGAN! I WAS BORN IN KALAMAZOO!
The grandmother says I WAS BORN IN KALAMAZOO, TOO!
So immediately we are friends!
(Martha aside: If we just take a moment, we will almost always find common ground. Lori and the grandmother found Kalamazoo! Some time today, look for common ground with a stranger. Common ground helps. I promise.)
As Quinton begins to look around, i explain to the grandmother how Threads works. That everything is free. That everything is washed. That all four children will get new shoes, new socks, new underwear. And she bursts into tears.
And right about that time Quinton has discovered the EASTER RACK!!
And on the Easter Rack, he has found a full suit in his size including a tie and a shirt! With a big smile on his face he lifts it off the rack and announces to everyone:
I can wear this to my father’s funeral!
You see, that is why they were traveling to Michigan.
And that is priceless.”
Thank you, dearest Lori. Thank you for all the love and expertise and diplomacy and creativity you pour into Threads.
And thank all the rest of you ‘Thread-ians’ who buy the clothes, bring the clothes, sort the clothes, display the clothes, handle the records, shop with the children, get a kick out of your Threads friends and days together, and all the other beautiful moments done with love that keep Threads hanging on. You are all Good Trouble Makers. And You are all priceless.
Finally here’s the courtyard as that Threads Auction evening was coming on. It was the Saturday of Easter Week. There were mysterious and beautifully dressed children floating everywhere.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality. (T. S. Eliot)
But T. S., I beg to differ! Around this block, we do try time and again to bear reality. We try to love God’s world, really. Sometimes we fail but sometimes we do love so powerfully. Some moments we do hold the real world in our arms, just like our Savior Jesus held the little children, we love the Children of God with compassion, practicality, and yes some really cool threads.