This kind and incredibly heart warming, generous gesture leaves me proud to be part of this community of Calgarians and it has me thinking about warm blankets of all sorts. This is the time of year, the time when the first snow flurries fal,l that we dig out our warm blankets and put them on our beds, on the backs of our favourite chairs and even in our cars – just in case. There is something about the idea of a warm blanket that lets us know we can make it through the tough winter season.
I’ve also had a warm blanket kindly laid on me several times when I’ve had to have simple medical procedures completed. There is something about this act of having a blanket laid on us, that allows us to feel safe, to feel like we will make it to the other side of the discomfort.
Recently, I’ve come to recognize that warm blankets come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. They are not just the lovely red and black plaid ones we so often see advertised on magazine covers.
On Thursday night, I joined my dancing sisters for their regular Thursday night class. Lest you are about to think I am breaking doctors’ orders for rest, I did not dance. Having received the disappointing news last week that my air cast boot would continue to accompany me through the next four weeks, I decided I needed a pick me up in the form of watching a dance class and seeing the fantastic new steps my friends are learning. Upon arrival I was warmly greeted and soon found myself catching up with ‘the girls’. As the class was about to begin, one of our dancers, Barb, went to her purse and produced a sign for me to wear around my neck. I was officially welcomed to the ‘Sideliners’ group. This has become a loving label given to any of our dancers who have managed to sideline themselves. Currently in the Thursday night group alone, the sideliners group is at an all time high of four! This small act was such a wonderful way for each of us who is on the injured list, to continue to feel a part of a group and an activity we miss so very much. It was as if Barb had gently laid a warm blanket on us, reassuring us that not only would we survive our injuries, but we were being cared for by a loving team. What a gift!
A second blanket moment occurred at our house a week ago. My very good friends, Coralie and Warren’s, son, and his wife are expecting their second child in less than a month. At a time when this young couple should be setting up the crib again, sorting through baby clothes and thinking about names for their new addition, instead they have been regular visitors to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre where Brandon has undergone chemotherapy, after recovering from surgery in April. Wanting to show them our support, we decided to host a Sprinkle for them; a party to celebrate not only the coming of the new baby but also to let Brandon and Savanah know that they have a whole village behind them as they travel this very tough road.
Friends arrived with casseroles for their freezer, and diapers and gifts for the baby. The afternoon was filled with friends reconnecting, and with new memories being made. Many, many comments were made about how good it felt to be together in support. Together we placed a warm blanket on this family; a blanket of support and encouragement. A blanket that let them know they were cared for. Incredibly, two days before the shower, at his appointment following nine weeks and three rounds of chemotherapy, Brandon’s doctor said the words everyone had prayed for but had been afraid to expect, “Right now, you are cancer free!’ It felt like a miracle.
I wish I could say I coined the phrase ‘warm blanket’. I did not. I read it in a beautiful article written about my brother-in-law, Greg, after the passing of his beloved dog Caleb. In the article, Greg describes how his music community came together to support him. Greg commented that, ‘This community really knows how to put a warm blanket on’. I thought it was the most perfect way to capture the feeling of being loved in a time of need. This article is incredibly moving and well worth the read.
Since hearing the phrase, ‘put a warm blanket on’, I’ve been thinking about the many, many different ways we can put a blanket on one another as we go about our daily lives. Not all blankets have to be king-sized. Sometimes the smallest of blankets can do the trick. I’m noticing and feeling gratitude for the blankets placed on me recently; blankets in the form of ‘sideliner’ signs, Jan coming over to play cribbage to help me pass the time, Rhonda stopping in for a visit and a ‘knitting lesson’ and Brenda taking me to see a new-to-me wool shop. I love my blanket in the form of Kaitlyn stopping in for little visits with Benjamin.
This weekend we observe Remembrance Day. This year is especially poignant as we mark a century since the end of WWI. I hope our veterans will feel the blankets we place on them as we walk among the crosses placed in the Field of Crosses on Memorial Drive in our city, as we stop to admire the knitted poppies draped over the beautiful walls of The Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, as we proudly wear a poppy on our lapel, as we donate to food banks and as we attend services and as we stop for our moment of silence and reflection at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of this eleventh month. Lest we forget.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘Who needs my blanket?’
Elizabeth creates and facilitates custom workshops for corporate, public and private groups. She provides leadership and personal coaching for individuals and groups. Contact Elizabeth to help you figure out how to give and receive warm blankets.