Every day I get the Virginia Tech News in my email. Usually the stories are about research or campus activities, but on this day there was a touching story about an amazing young woman whose life ended too soon due to cancer.
She was a medical student at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. She described herself as a “quilt of many colors.” I just loved that description. She was a painter, a volunteer, a hiker, a farmer, an actress, a seamstress and a chemist. These are not always the interests we would associate with a medical student.
I began thinking about the colors in my “quilt.” I am a wife, a mother, a chemist, a lab instructor, a huge sports fan, a runner and, yes, a Ms. Fix It around my house. I am also a woman of the ELCA.
[bctt tweet=”I began thinking about the colors in my “quilt.” ” username=”womenoftheelca”]
Some would say a few of these qualities are not the interests we think of when we look at participants of Women of the ELCA. I disagree. We are made up of “quilts of many colors.”
In my travels to various synodical women’s organizations (SWOs) and in my own SWO and circle, I have met women who are mothers, grandmothers, wives, widowers and single. Some are wonderful artists, quilters, seamstresses, and some (like me) can’t draw or sew a stitch.
Through the organization I have gotten to know many teachers, a pharmacist, a veterinarian, engineers, chemists, pastors, stay-at-home moms and so many others. All of these women come together in community because of Women of the ELCA.
Our faith, our desire to do God’s work with our hands and our love of this organization are the constant colors in our quilts.
I hear often that Women of the ELCA has an image problem–that we need to rebrand ourselves. Maybe this is true. But it is women like you and me that must tell the story of all the “quilts” that make up this community.
Why not include a story in your congregational or synodical newsletter about one of the bold women in your organization? While you’re at it, recognize these women at your synodical organization convention or gatherings.
What are the many colors in your quilt? And how will you share them with other women?
Jody Smiley is vice president of the Women of the ELCA executive board and a member of St. Michael Lutheran Church in Blacksburg, Va.
Photo of the quilt presented to Caroline Osborne by her fellow medial students is by David Hungate/Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.