Heaven is a Garden

“But as it is written:  ‘What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.'”

Upper Left CornerOnce again, I was honored with the task of creating a memorial quilt for those who died in hospice last year at the McLean’s Care Center in Simsbury, Connecticut.  Family members and friends of those who have passed are asked to create a quilt block in memory of their loved one.  I assemble the blocks and add a little of my own touch.

It’s an emotional endeavor to make the quilt and even more so to participate in the ceremony to reveal everyone’s work.  As I explained in my presentation, I speak and write about how each of us have special gifts endowed by God, and we are meant to share them.  The gifts of each of the deceased are permanently displayed on the fabric squares in various forms.  When we lose someone we love, we also lose the gifts he or she shared with us.

While I worked on the quilt and read the variety of talents and personal traits of each person, I couldn’t help but think about those I have lost and how much I miss what they gave to me.  I looked out at the reception yesterday and wondered if perhaps a spouse used to play the piano and now there’s no music.  Maybe a sibling was great at telling jokes, and now the laughter has dwindled.  Possibly a friend no longer has a confidant to share her thoughts so loneliness prevails.  I prayed my work would bring some comfort to them knowing their grief is valued and sacred.

I explained, as well, in my presentation how I did not intend to use a floral fabric again.  I

Cross-Stitch by Elizabeth Scheidel of McLean's

Cross-Stitch by Elizabeth Scheidel of McLean’s

chose a beautiful floral fabric last year and we artists do not like to repeat ourselves.  We like to shake things up and vary our work.  However, when I found this particular floral fabric in the quilt shop, it “called” to me.  It had all the right colors and just seemed perfect.  I was compelled to buy it and, therefore, I did.

When I returned home, I laid out the fabric with the quilt blocks.  It looked glorious!  I thought to myself, “Well, it makes sense to use a floral because I believe Heaven is a garden.”  For some reason, having that thought motivated me to sit down and write a poem about heaven.    I don’t consider myself to be a poet, but the lines just kept popping into my head.   When I finished, I had a picture in my mind of the finished quilt.  I proceeded to design it.  I read the poem yesterday just before the quilt was unveiled:

Heaven is a Garden

SunflowerI believe Heaven is a garden
where purple tulips grow strong and tall
side by side with glorious sunflowers
whether the calendar be spring or fall.
I believe Heaven is a garden
where maple trees are lush green
and in the same moment you cast your eyes
on the deepest red you’ve ever seen.
I believe Heaven is a garden
where the bees’ buzzing is a lulling sound
but in all the hills and meadowsBird
not one scary stinger can be found.
I believe Heaven is a garden
where earth worms crawl free of fear
as all the birds are not wanting
to dine on them up there.
I believe Heaven is a garden
where creatures of every size and type
work together to grasp the fruit
always there and always ripe.
Swing (1)
I believe Heaven is a garden
where you sit on the flowering swing
and there is never a reason
to worry about one single thing.
I believe Heaven is a garden
where there are no tests of any kind.
And there’s no wondering day after day,
“What will the doctor find?”
In Heaven’s gardenDragon Fly
there’s no sleepless nights or terrible pain.
Only endless hours for care-free strolls
on a tree-lined, country lane.
There’s no seeing sadness
on a loved one’s face.
There’s only Jesus’ loving arms,
open and ready to embrace.
BeeI believe Heaven is a garden
where the best of earth’s beauty
was seeded in its holy floor,
growing rich colors and nature’s music
the kind not known before.
Of all of God’s work,
Heaven’s Garden is His very best.
He kept the pain and sorrow out
giving His guests only peace and joy,
and rest and rest and rest . . .

(Written by Dorothy J. Szypulski for Hospice Memorial Quilt Unveiling, McLean’s Care Center, Simsbury, Connecticut — November 13, 2013)

Final 2012 (1)Lower Right Corner

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7 Responses to Heaven is a Garden

  1. Linda says:

    beautiful Dottie!! I’m so glad you are able to be a part of such a wonderful (and close to my heart) ministry. I’m so glad, too, that McLean Hospice found you to help them!


  2. Kathy Kurtich says:

    Nice ministry my friend!!


  3. Cecilia Broady says:

    Oh Dottie, I love this poem. It reminded me of how much I love being in my own garden and of our shared visit there this past summer. You are an inspiration to me.


  4. Sadonia Weatherspoon says:

    I was so touched by your story and you willingness to use your gift of quilting to bless others. I am learning to sew and aspiring to learn to quilt. I am a writer of poems and an artist just blooming I bead and sew and I am inspired by you to keep going letting the Lord fully develop my talents to share them and His love with others.
    God bless you.


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