(This is a long post - I know… but it’s from my heart & I hope it blesses you.)
What a week this has been.
Design-wise I’ve had a bunch of fun working on quilt designs for my next fabric collection (making its debut in March), & I’m so excited to (finally) have a new appliqué quilt to share with you! (…soon!)
In the midst of all the designing (i.e. playing with new fabrics!) - I’ve also been making plans for some new things for the website that I’m very excited about. UPS has been delivering some special boxes for some very special items that I’ve been collecting just for you! (Sorry… I know some of you don’t like the ‘tease’!) So, as soon as I complete some design deadlines - then I’ll be able to work on the new items… but for now - I’ve made shipping free for US customers! Use the discount code FREESHIP at checkout & we will cover the shipping! (For international shipping - please see the shipping info page for how we’re handling international shipping these days.)
At the beginning of the week, after being in the studio all day - to the accompaniment of movies on DVD… I decided to check the news to find that everyone was covering the events of what had just happened on Monday Night Football. There was a player down on the field & while I’m not a big football fan, what I observed grabbed my heart & brought tears to my eyes & I prayed.
Damar Hamlin, a 24 year old 'safety' on the Buffalo Bills football team, had just completed what was referred to as a ‘routine’ tackle of a player on the rival team, the Cincinnati Bengals. Damar sprung up after the tackle, seeming fine, but within seconds he fell backwards & lay motionless on the filed.
He suffered a cardiac arrest & his heart had stopped.
The teams trainers, EMTs (Emergency Medical Team) sprang into action, & administered CPR & had to use a defibrillator to re-start his heart. While all those out on the field have seen players be injured on the field & need medical assistance - nothing like that had ever happened on a football field… & it shook everyone.
To their knees.
All over the field, great big men in football gear were crying openly & holding each other up, joining hands, & kneeling with their heads bowed in prayer. As the ambulance took Damar - in critical condition - off the field, the team was gathered on a huge circle, heads bowed, & praying.
The next day, I tuned into ESPN (a sports channel) to see if there were any updates - & one of their broadcasters, Dan Orlovsky - a former football player, stopped & prayed, on-air, for Damar & his family. (You can also watch it here.)
At a time when I’ve been hesitant to even turn on news - because of how bizarre & seemingly out-of-control things are these days, it was such a blessing to see that when it really comes down to it… we know, in our hearts, what is really important & where to turn for what we really need.
I received an email yesterday with this post, written by Russ Barksdale, attached to it, & it says so clearly what has been so clearly demonstrated this week, & I wanted to share it with you. Please note that it was written the Monday evening when this happened… but the truth is timeless.
“I’ve been playing and watching football for 60+ years. I’ve never seen what I saw tonight. Damar Hamlin, safety for the Buffalo Bills, made a tackle—and may not live. I don’t know Damar personally. Actually never heard of him. But I found myself glued to the TV praying for him that somehow God would intervene and save his life. As of this writing (9:55 p.m. CST), he is in critical condition in a Cincinnati hospital.
“What was demonstrably visible after his injury were the reactions of players, coaches, announcers, and fans. While the EMTs and other health professionals worked feverishly on him, at times ‘vigorously administering’ CPR, players and coaches on both sides reacted in various ways: shock, tears, disbelief, and silence. The crowd also watched in hushed tones as the drama played out in the middle of the field. Announcers began to use words like ‘well-wishes’ and other terms of concern.
“But notably, the one word and the one action that was most observable was in reference to—wait for it—prayer. Many of the players got on their knees and were visibly seen praying. Coaches called their players together to take a knee and pray for Damar, as well they should.
“Solomon wrote, ‘He (God) has also put eternity in their (human’s) hearts’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Another translation puts it this way: ‘He has planted eternity in the human heart’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT).
“When tragedy strikes, something in us looks upward to find answers, to find help, to find hope, to find courage. This occurs in Christ-followers and those who don’t know Christ. It happens among Hindus, Muslims, Jews, agnostics, and atheists. We instinctively, even if only for a few moments, look to something, someone who is beyond us. Years ago, I heard the statement, ‘There are no atheists in foxholes.’
“Solomon said it right: God has placed eternity on our hearts. EVERY human being senses that there is something beyond this reality. The Bible clearly reveals that the something is someone.
“The God who created all that is, the God who did not abandon us in our brokenness and weakness, the God who entered into our reality and took on our fleshly likeness, the God who sacrificed Himself to atone for & pay for our sinful nature, the God who promises to work everything out for good, the God who enters our being and gives us hope and strength to get through, the God who promises that one day all things will make sense, the God who promises to one day right every wrong, the God who promises to do away with any need for tears and grief—that God is the One who put eternity on our hearts.
“Stop denying Him. Stop fighting Him. Stop refusing Him access to your life. Turn to Him and find healing, help, and hope. He made you to do just that.”
As I write my post, it’s Sunday afternoon, Damar Hamlin, while still in intensive care has made, according to his doctors, amazing progress. He has a long road ahead of him, but he has made it clear though a social media post - that he knows that while he would like to be with his teammates playing on the football field, he knows that, “God (is) using me in a different way today”. He sure is.
(… & as a cherry on top of all of this… Damar Hamlin had created a Go-Fund-Me page for a children’s toy drive that he had set a modest goal of $2,500 for. As of this morning - people have donated over $8.5 million dollars.) What an amazing statement of love.
In these worrisome days… this is just what all our hurting hearts needed to witness. I know I have been filled with such hope & thankfulness this week.