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A man who joins the U. S.

Communities and countries are strengthened by the diligent service of their...

Robert L. “Bob” “Orpalo” “Tudoc” Valerio, 85, died June 30, 2019, in Seattle.
Perspectives: Stitching together sacred moments


A few years ago, my sister and I were going through a closet in my mother’s house. Mom grew up in the Great Depression, and saved and reused almost everything that came into the house (at least it seemed that way).

In the closet were some remnants of cloth that we recognized as matching dresses and skirts that we once wore. We laughed and laughed remembering the “cool” outfits Mom sewed for us and we were so proud of wearing. My sister wondered why Mom kept all the leftovers — the bits and scraps — since they weren’t big enough to make anything; maybe she was going to make a patchwork quilt.

That’s how those pieces become something sacred — set apart as meaningful. If we made a patchwork of the moments in our lives, the quilt would probably be mismatched and awkward. We may enjoy some of it and frown at the rest. Perhaps a jumble of rich weaves and threadbare textures.

I think it is worthwhile to think about this “patchwork” imagery, as we celebrate mothers this weekend.

Birthing begins the fabric on which we sew together the bits of meaning, added on by our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and those who nurtured us by choice.

Our stories are not all filled with joy. Many quilt pieces are interlaced with sorrow and tears.

I recall years ago reflecting on a statue of Mother Mary holding the lifeless body of her much-loved son, Jesus. She brought meaning and love to his life — nurturing, teaching and guiding him. I felt my heart break. I was a new mother, after many years of trying, and loss was too painful to think about.

Our meaning in life changes throughout the years as we gather new family members and friends around us. We seek relationships with those we love and who love us, our coworkers, our neighbors and most importantly, our God. Our earthly relationships may come and go, but the Lord is always faithful.

So, it’s not just my patchwork image I think about today; it is also my mother’s. I may never know the depth of her sorrows and her wounds, her joys and her treasures. But I want to say I honor them; and at 98 years of age, her quilt is awesome. I thank our faithful and steadfast God for staying at her side.

“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalms 100:5)

Margie Adams is staff chaplain of PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.


Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.