Why Handmade is Important

I once read in a magazine about a missionary in Africa who had been living in a village for quite a few years.  Strong friendships had developed, but the time had come for him to leave.

The village held a farewell feast and many friends gave him gifts, however, one was different.  The village was about 60 miles from the coast and this good friend had given him a large beautiful shell that could have come only from there.

The missionary looked at the villager and said, “You walked a long way to bring me this gift.  I am so grateful.”  The villager humbly replied, “Long walk part of gift.”

Long walk part of gift

I don’t know how long I’ve been giving only handmade gifts at the holidays, but I think it started in the 1980’s with my famous peach fruitcake.  (Don’t judge.) Thousands of miles of crochet thread later, I’m still creating handmade gifts for the holidays.

Though crochet is a common theme, I try to do something different every year.  It gives me a chance to delight in different mediums and learn something new.

Not every gift can be held in the hand.  Experiences together with others are gifts of the spirit. They create long-lasting, loving memories more reliably than any razzle-dazzle gizmo.  When it comes to grandkids, that’s the kind of gift I like best.

As I anticipate the receiver’s eye’s lighting up when they open my handmade gift, that feeling of love and anticipation is infused into the gift itself.

Some gifts take planning, pre-purchasing, space-clearing and downright focus.  Time counts as part of the gift.  You wouldn’t have had the outcome you did if you hadn’t put in the effort.  That’s the long walk; it’s part of the gift.

I believe that work created by human hand, no matter what the medium or outcome, is a gift of the spirit, and when we share our work with others, we complete the process.  An act of creation is inspired, created and then received; the cycle is complete.

Judging our work

As soon as it leaves your hands, you are free now to move on to the next long walk.  Your creation is complete when it is received.

Instead, we worry.  Right?  The Dreamkillers always choose these moments to remind you of the imperfections you can obviously see, and the time in third grade when the kid next to you messed up your painting but you still had to give it to your parents anyway.  (And the look on your mom’s face… oh horror!)

Did you notice in the African story that the missionary didn’t complain because the shell was too large to fit in his luggage or he didn’t like the color?  The actual outcome of the effort took a back seat to the loving gesture behind it.

The shell solidified the loving energy behind the long walk.

That’s the same with your creations.  No matter what your skill level or even if it bombs, your job is to put your loving energy into creating, and then let it go, and dive back into the process.

It takes practice.

No matter how you choose to create, handmade gifts are important because they are a way to close the loop on the creative process.  They allow us to exchange loving energy.  And the world really needs loving energy in these days of rapid change.

We need you to create.

6 Replies to "Why Handmade is Important"

  • Brooke Harker
    December 13, 2018 (3:56 am)

    This is beautiful-love the message of the newsletter too:)

    • Debra
      December 13, 2018 (4:16 am)

      Thanks Brooke. So glad it resonated for you.

  • Jennifer Rosecrance
    December 13, 2018 (2:45 pm)

    Lovely story. You’ve rekindled my desire to give handmade! Thank you!

    • Debra
      December 14, 2018 (12:51 am)

      That makes me happy! I hope you do have a chance to follow through on that desire and have fun with it too!

  • Ginger
    December 13, 2018 (6:42 pm)

    Thanks, Sis, for the amplified message. I had not heard the shell story, and love it.
    I just spent my morning hand making gifts for my family/friends, too.

    • Debra
      December 14, 2018 (12:52 am)

      It must run in the family!

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