My Father’s only WW2 Souvenir

There’s a blue hooked rug beside my bed. I step down onto it each morning and each morning I think of my dad. He made the rug in 1946, just after the end of World War II. He was living on the psychiatric unit of a hospital in Germany at the time, after joining in the liberation of Bergen Belsen, one of Hitler’s notorious death camps. What he saw there made my father’s mind stop and his soul shrivel. It would be many months before he was well enough to leave the hospital. He worked on the hooked rug a little each day. It was one of the few things he brought home with him when he returned to Canada. His only surviving souvenir, it was more precious to him than the medals he received. I often wondered about that, wondered why he would hold it so close. I never asked because he didn’t like to talk about the war and very few people knew he’d spent time in a psychiatric facility. My mother warned me not to mention it when she told me where the rug had come from.

But I think the reason he prized that hand-made item was because it had been part of his healing. As his hands performed the simple act of forming bits of blue wool into a pattern on a loom, his mind began to heal, his soul began to be restored. Todd Henry, founder of Accidental Creative once said “The creative process is a daily assault on the beachhead of apathy.” I believe it can be more. I believe it can be an assault on the evil and imbalance in ourselves and in the world, a beachhead against chaos and destruction.

I believe that as we write, as we sew or knit or quilt, as we paint or sculpt or weave, we are healed, we are made more whole and we draw closer to the Divine Spirit that guides us on. We also remind ourselves and those who will read our words or enjoy our created things, that complete health, in mind, body and soul, is the state in which we were meant to live. Thus hope is breathed out, made literal in words, in blankets, in hats and paintings and all artwork, and we are all encouraged.

That process brings us joy and satisfaction because it is what we were created to do. We were created to make life better by practicing and using the gifts He has given us, whether it be to write a novel or paint a portrait or hook a rug. Creating opposes the purposes of the evil one who is set on destruction, and flows with the purposes of God.

And, as Oswald Chambers is quoted as saying: “If you agree with God’s purpose He will bring not only your conscious life, but all the deeper regions of your life which you cannot get at, into harmony.” (Oswald Chambers, from Called of God in The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers) That is true health, true holiness.

“Therefore, my dear friends … continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” Philippians 2:12,13).

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Thank you for taking the time to read. My name is Marcia Lee Laycock and I invite you to follow me if you’d like to read more of my work about finding your way home, into the arms of Jesus. 😊 You can also find me on Medium at https://medium.com/pondrings and https://medium.com/koinonia and a few other publications along the way.

For more information about my writing and speaking ministry, sign up for my newsletter to receive sporadic updates and a free short story.  😊https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/10812cf2-55f3-11eb-bb1c-177e9f3a62d2

5 thoughts on “My Father’s only WW2 Souvenir

  1. lisa evola November 11, 2021 / 4:15 pm

    Marcia that is an amazing story! Yes, I believe the process of creating can be so healing for our hearts and mind. I believe engaging with that creative soul is where we connect most deeply with the Creator of it all. What a beautiful story to keep close to your heart. Be blessed my friend and thank you to your father for his service ~L

    • marcialeelaycock November 11, 2021 / 4:26 pm

      Thanks Lisa – yes, it is a treasured story for sure! :)m

  2. Brenda L Louden November 11, 2021 / 5:15 pm

    Such poignant memories of a horrible time for your dad. What a mercy he was able to heal and come home. And, as you so clearly pointed out, our true home
    is in the arms of our Saviour.

  3. Gilbert and Andrea Kidd November 13, 2021 / 10:39 am

    Thank you, Marcia! so helpful since many of us have disturbing memories to deal with.

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