Mystery of the Muncie Scarf Leads to Coos Bay, Oregon
Facing Project board member Stephanie Fisher was walking past Muncie Central High School and saw a scarf tied to a chain link fence next to a note that read:
“I smiled when I first saw it,” Stephanie wrote in her Facebook post. “I find it sad now.”
“Whoever knitted it had dreams for great things. So today I stopped and asked the scarf the #iSeeStories question of the week, “What did you want to be when you grew up?
“And the scarf said:
“‘I wanted to be the highlight of a teenage girl’s day. I wanted to keep a homeless man warm. I wanted someone to know that a stranger cared for them. I wanted to be a humanitarian success instead of a Pinterest fail.’”
Each week for the #iSeeStories challenge, we release a question to ask a stranger, family member, friend, anyone really. To take the challenge, you take to social media Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and report what the person shared or what you learned from the experience. Typically, the subject is a person and not a thing like a talking scarf.
But Stephanie didn’t end her post at the talking scarf. She challenged the Facing Project community to find the person behind the scarf.
“The Facing Project, let’s find the scarf’s maker! Does anyone know?”
We shared her post and we thought that was the end of the scarf story.
It was not. A few women in an assisted living community in Oregon had something to say.
Love is a life’s work
I got a Facebook message from a friend in the Muncie community who received the following note from Mary Luther in Coos Bay, Oregon:
“I got this post out of the blue this morning. It’s crazy and wonderful how things work out. A friend who wishes to remain anonymous, asked me to have our ladies at Ocean Ridge Assisted Living (Coos Bay, Oregon) make hats and scarves for homeless folks in Muncie, Indiana. The knitters agreed and got busy. They made and shipped off the hats and scarves. Between 150 and 200 of them. My friend and her grandkids hung the hats and scarves with an encouraging note attached–on light poles in Muncie. This is the story of the last remaining hat and scarf set. It’s becoming famous. We are so glad to be a part of this happy story.”
So Stephanie’s post about the inanimate object, ultimately led us to two real people: Anne and Marj. Mary Luther asked Anne and Marj the #iSeeStories question of the week and shared their stories:
“When I saw the #iSeeStories challenge, I asked the knitters the week’s question, ‘What did you want to be when you grew up?’ Marj, the maker of the now famous hat wanted to be a teacher. Instead, she became an administrative assistant at a drug and alcohol rehab center. The scarf maker, Anne, wanted to be a mother, wife and homemaker. She became one of the best I’ve ever known. Marj also wanted to be a mom and homemaker. They each successfully raised children who adore them. Anne and Marj make beautiful prayer shawls that are blessed and given to folks who are emotionally and physically hurting. All of these women feel that making these items is a part of their ministry in life. They inspire me and now their work and love has spread across the country. You never know how far love will reach.”
The times in my life that I’ve felt the most frustrated, helpless, or hopeless have usually involved me not seeing a world beyond my own wants and needs. Times where I’m the main character and everyone else is simply an extra in my movie. Times when the idiot in the car in front of me is on his phone and I have very important places to be.
But when we pause to see how the people around us are living their own unique, interesting stories, we see the world differently. We see each other differently.
We even see that an abandoned scarf can introduce us to individuals who inspire us to commit tiny acts of love because you never know how far love will reach.