My Dad Taught Me To Sew

Today marks what would have been my Dad’s 79th birthday. He passed away two years ago.

So, this is to honor him and, being that it’s almost Father’s Day, I figured you wouldn’t mind because there’s some sewing parallels to be observed here.

Dad bought me a little battery operated chain stitch sewing machine for my 7th birthday.

Dad?

Yeah.

My mom didn’t know much about sewing….it frustrated her to no end.

She was an amazing knitter though.

But, Dad knew how to sew…and he was good at it.

Growing up during the Depression, son of a gasoline station owner, he was a hard worker. His parents thought he should know how to do things, even “girl” things like cooking, sewing and ironing.

Dad worked his first job at age ten driving big trucks of gasoline from Colorado Springs to Montrose, Colorado and back again. In those days, no one worried about safety, driver’s licenses or being too young to do a man’s job. You just did what you had to do to keep food on the table. That meant the whole family chipped in to help. He worked hard and kept good grades. He earned a football scholarship to the University of Colorado and then went on to become a doctor.

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So, I like to tease that he sewed on fabric and people!

And he was good at both.

Once, when I  was little, we had a kitten who shredded the sheers (sheers are thin wispy white draperies for those of you who were born after 1980!) Maybe your grandmother has some hanging in her home.

Dad sat down to an old Italian Vigorelli sewing machine and repaired those drapes until they looked brand new. None of us figured out how he did it. There was no sign of kitty and no sign of human intervention by the time he was finished with them. I was impressed to say the least.

That was Dad. He had the money to go out and buy a new pair, but he chose to fix them himself.

He was a doctor, but that wasn’t enough for him.

As he operated on people, he saw the need for more advanced surgical devices and equipment. Since they weren’t available, he decided to solve that problem and make them himself.  His first invention was a shunt. This led to him developing and manufacturing all sorts of medical equipment, fiber optic cameras, instruments, software and was working on a cure for cancer. By the time he died, he had 268 patents in his name.

Did I get any of those genes? Well, I do think of things to invent from time to time, but I have never followed through to manufacture them. I certainly didn’t get the “brilliant” genes or the “I want to go inside people’s guts and fix what’s wrong with them” genes.

But what I did get from him was a good work ethic. All eight of us kids got that. None of us are doctors, but each one is accomplished in their field.

It wasn’t just the hard work, brains and skill he possessed, as impressive as those were.

He had a kind and gentle spirit, perseverance, and a great sense of humor. These are what pop into my mind when I think about him.

What does this have to do with sewing?

Well, these are the things that make a good seamstress or tailor.

You need a sense of humor when you are ripping out a seam for the fourth time.

You need a kind and gentle spirit or you’ll throw the garment in the trash (or cut it up with scissors if you’re too frustrated!)

Anyone?

You need to persevere because if you don’t get it right the first time, and you give up, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve even begun. If you keep on trying, you’ll get it and you’ll be glad you did.

The results are worth it. Whether it’s raising kids, working hard in school, managing a team of people or fixing a wedding dress emergency three hours before the ceremony…all these things make a difference.

They make a difference in your character and they make a difference in the lives of those you come in contact with.

But, there’s one other thing I need to say about my Dad.

I’m sure he’s in heaven today.

Is it because he was such a good person?

No. He’d be the first to say he wasn’t.

He made mistakes. He failed. He had regrets.

Deep ones.

He fell asleep at the wheel in his early years and his wife died as a result.

Can you imagine? That would be an awful burden to live with your whole life.

There are other things, but I’ve made mistakes, I’ve failed, and I’ve had regrets.

You have too, just like me and my dad.

The point is, it’s not what he (or you, or I) accomplished in life or whether he was a good person that got him into heaven. In fact, nothing you or I do gets us there.

That’s what the Bible tells us. It says, “It is by grace that you are saved, through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, so that no one may boast.”

It’s not about us.

It’s about God sending His Son Jesus to die in our place on the cross.

He loves us all so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus to die instead of us (because the Bible says that our holy God loves us but hates sin). So to wipe out sin, He sent His Son to be punished for the sins we have committed. IT was a swap….That is incredible love!!!

When we stop trying to “earn” our way into heaven (by trying to be a good person and do good things), which the Bible says is impossible anyway because of our sin, and we trust that what Jesus did on the cross for us is enough, we are saved from hell.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him (God the Father) who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.”

We receive this gift of eternal life by faith. It’s not enough to believe in God. Satan believes in God, but he’s not going to heaven.

It’s transferring trust in myself and my own good works to trusting in what Jesus did to save me.

So, what’s the incentive to live a good life and do good things for others?

It’s to say “thank you” to God for the amazing gift of eternal life He gave us!

Dad understood that Jesus died for his sins. About three weeks before he died, he told me he made that decision. He was forgiven of all the regrets, sins, and mistakes in his life.

I made that decision too, about 25 years ago and my life hasn’t been the same. God is my refuge and strength in good times and bad and He is my best friend and constant companion.

Yes, I’m taking a risk by telling you this on this sewing blog, because I may lose your readership, but I’m willing to take the risk. Why? Because I have found that nothing is better than knowing God. I tried life without God and I failed miserably. I still fail, but I know that God will pick me up, forgive me and give me another fresh start…every day.

He’s amazing.

Not me.

Not my Dad.

God is.

God is amazing.

How many more years have you got? You may not even have one. Make that decision to trust in Jesus today. All you have to do is ask Him. Just talk to Him. He will answer.

If you have questions about any of this, please send me an email. I’d love to correspond with you and help you find the purpose and life abundant that God designed you to have.

And while you’re at it, say “thanks” to your Dad for the good qualities he has….while you still can.

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