One of my writing retreat friends incorporates sewing projects into her retreat time. Obviously, she has her sewing machine with her. We have limited contact with each other through the retreat, so we can soak in the quiet and be productive in whatever we’ve determine to be our goals for the retreat. However, we keep an active message thread to encourage each other, ask for feedback, and make sure we have a bit of human contact.
At the most recent retreat, which was more individually isolated than ever due to health precautions, our quilter sent a simple message near the end of the week: “There is a pillow on the couch that is falling apart. I’m going to fix it. Anything else you’ve seen that could use sewing?” Did I mention we rent a home? Yes, this was not our pillow, not our home, not our responsibility. Or was it?
A couple days earlier, we talked about future retreats and reflected on the locations we’ve rented in the past. We have nearly always booked through one homeowner. (The one time we didn’t, we regretted it.) The homeowner is personable and professional. We’ve had few problems, and when we have, we tried to be patient and understanding as the homeowner promptly responded. We always try to leave a house not only as directed but better. It’s not as if we are messy people, but we intentionally try to clean up well. We hope we make it a little easier for the housekeeping personnel and next guests. Our quilter’s attentiveness was both evidence and a reminder.
We sometimes want to excuse our behavior as entitlement. We pay for something and deserve access and permission. We have rights and refuse to filter whether or not something that’s permissible is beneficial. Or we look at what is beneficial to us much more than what’s beneficial to others. Fixing the pillow was a small gesture. Most likely, no one would ever notice. At some point, the tattered pillow would have been replaced with a better one. With a little extra care, it will last longer. With a little extra care, we left the house a slightly better than we’d found it. With a little extra care, we can do the same with people around us. All it takes is attention to detail and extra care of people when sharing life.