A few weeks ago I found a treasure I thought I lost. I was going through some old boxes that my mother found in her storage closet. I asked her to store these a long time ago and completely forgot about them. She found them behind a cluttered mess in her closet and dropped them off at my house. I opened a box and began rummaging through it’s contents. Within a few moments, I spotted a quilt that I had not seen in 14 years. When my husband and I moved from Arizona to Utah, some of our things got lost in the shuffle. I thought the quilt was one of those.
This is not just any quilt. This quilt belonged to Vyvyan Leora Garrett, my beautiful and amazing grandmother. Vyvyan was the kindest, most God fearing woman I have ever met. Her smile could light up a room and her laugh was contagious. A few years before Vyvyan passed away she gave me this quilt. It was stitched together with fabric from clothing she wore in the 60’s and 70’s, a time when she was watching her children grow and sending them off into the world.
The moment I realized what was laying before me, I completely lost it. I held the quilt and began sobbing uncontrollably. I pulled it together long enough to call my mom and once she understood what I was saying, she shared in my excitement and joy. The quilt lays on the back of my couch and every day I get to be reminded of the wonderful woman who taught me love, patience, gratitude, kindness, and peace.
This experience reminded me of the journey that a lot of Alpine girls go through. When they were young, they knew love, patience, gratitude, kindness, and peace. As they grew into adolescence these lessons were lost for a myriad of reasons. Pain, loneliness, fear, and shame cluttered their lives much like the quilt was lost behind other boxes and things that piled up over the years in my mother’s closet.
The biggest joy for me as a Family Teacher is when I see a girl begin to de clutter. The pain slowly fades, the fear becomes bravery. The loneliness is replaced by relationships restored. The shame turns into realization that she is unique and beautiful and whole.
We have a tradition at Alpine. Each girl who graduates receives a quilt. This tradition started many years ago when a young lady who graduated and was going off on her own was asked if there was anything that she needed before she left. She said that she wanted to take the quilt that was off her bed, because it gave her such comfort during many long nights.
Now, whenever a youth graduates the program, they are presented with a quilt and told the story of the first quilt given out. The other girls in the home wrap her in the quilt and cover her in a group hug. The hope is that whenever the graduate wraps herself in the quilt from there on out, she will feel the comfort of all those who love and cherish her.
I look forward to seeing many more lovely young ladies graduate Alpine Academy. I look forward to wrapping them in quilted love that will hopefully bring them comfort for many years. Each life renewed is a treasure found.