bang the loom

Do you have a relative you never met but wished you did? I do. Her name is Hilma, and she was my great grandmother from Sverige (Sweden).


When Grandpa would talk about his mom, his eyes would well with affection and sometimes tears. Hilma came to the States in 1903 to marry a Swede, and together they raised eight children on an 80-acre parcel of land about 25 miles north of Eveleth, Minnesota.

And then her husband, my great grandfather, died unexpectedly in 1928. She had eight children to care for and no formal education. To feed her family, she wove and sold rag rugs, washed butcher aprons for the local meat markets, and did laundry for a local recreational hall. She had no car to sell her rugs so she had to walk door to door, family to family, in the towns of Eveleth, Gilbert, and Virginia, and other parts of the Mesabi Range.

Grandpa’s youngest sister Elsie wrote an appreciation of Hilma, and this might be one of my favorite parts:

Mom prided herself in her excellent rag rugs. She had strength to really bang her loom so that the warp tightened against the strip of rag. Mom had complete faith in people, believing that no one would harm or cheat her. If someone would forget to pay her, she’d say that they didn’t mean to do it. Such trust can only come from her strong faith, which was Apostolic Lutheran.

I remember the Apostolic Lutheran faith as a very simple religion based on direct forgiveness. We all know about God’s forgiveness, and I’m sure we ask it of Him many times, but when you hurt or wrong someone–it is their forgiveness that we need.

Here’s to banging looms–whatever you do that is your strong suit and a source of pride–and the faith of direct forgiveness.