The Value Of Creating Tangible Things


My grandma on my dad's side died when I was around nine years old.  I remember crying at her funeral, but I don't think I fully realized at the time what I lost.  

My grandma was a really neat lady by all accounts, and I remember that too.  I remember her pulling out the toys for us to play when we went over to visit, and I remember going over with my mom one day to make a fall wreath craft together.  I remember her funny magnets on the fridge, and her glasses, and her big welcoming smile.  

I wish I would have had a chance to know her as an adult.  I won't really get to know her until I meet her in Heaven.

But here in my living room, I have two blankets she crocheted.  The stitches are intricate, and the colors are bright.  And I feel like even though I lost her before I was old enough to really know her, I have something of her every time I look over and see her blankets in the corner.

I was thinking about her blankets the other day when I was mulling over the value of hobbies.  One reason that I define hobbies as an activity that produces something is because of those blankets.  There is something valuable about a hobby that allows you to create something tangible, something to pass down.  Something your descendants can point to and say "My great-grandmother made that."

I have other things around the house that have been made for me.  I have hand towels and table runners and baby blankets that were crocheted for me by dear ladies in the church where I grew up.  I have quilts my mom made with me when I was a kid, the baby book she covered in fabric and decorated for me.  And I have wooden bowls, a gorgeous cutting board, and the quilt rack that holds my grandmother's quilts, all made by my grandpa.

All these things make me think that I need a hobby that creates something that my kids can hold in their hands.  I need to print these writings into some sort of book.  I need to print the photos I take.  I need to finish that baby blanket I started knitting years ago, I need to stop thinking about learning to embroider and do it.

Because sitting under my grandma's blanket while I read a book, I realize, there is something special about passing down something tangible.  Scripture tells us we can know things about God by the things which He made, and I think there is a sense in which that is true for us humans too.  I never got to know my grandma as an adult, but even now I can know some things about her by the gorgeous blankets she made.

Material things aren't as important as people, but they can remind us of people we love, they can remind us where we come from.  Holding something in our hands isn't the same as knowing the person who created it, but we can know something about the person by the things they made.  Tangible things aren't everything, but they aren't nothing.  There is value in creating something you can touch.

And this also reminds me not to get too caught up in this digital world.  My grandkids may not ever look up my Instagram account or blog, but they will flip through albums of pictures I took, or read words I wrote on a page, and maybe if I take the time, they can do those things while snuggled under a blanket I made too.


Do you have anything that was passed down to you?  Or have you made anything you can pass down to your kids?


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Bekah said...

All three of the grandparents I knew died within three years of each other while I was in high school. (My remaining grandparent had died before I was born.) I "inherited" a few things from them when we cleaned out their houses to sell them, and I love the story of those things. I've become less "collecty" as I've gotten older, but I do love the story that goes with something, and their pieces are meaningful to me for that. And of course my scrapbooks mean the world to me. That's what I would grab in a fire!

Billie Jo said...

Hello! A lovely post to read on a chilly autumn evening. I have a few special things from my grandparents I will treasure forever. My grandmother made needlepoint pillowcases that I keep in my cedar chest until I gift them to one of my daughters. My other grandmother created the best pumpkin pie recipe ever...without eggs...and I have her handwritten recipe card! I have it in a frame in my kitchen.

Your afghan is beautiful. I imagine how happy you are snuggling under it on a chilly autumn evening. Have a cozy weekend.

Michelle said...

Love this. My great grandma used to crochet, and I have a basket of baby blankets she made. My mom is an incredible knitter. She’s made all kinds of things for me and my girls, and she’s even knit their Christmas stockings. I’ve knit them both baby blankets (though Clara’s is still in progress) and hope it’s something they’ll keep forever.

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