It was the second time I learned to
knit that stuck. The first time,
my grandmother taught me during a summer vacation; I remember struggling with
the yarn and needles, wondering if this would even turn into something
usable. The second time was when I
was in seminary. My sister had
started knitting, and over one Christmas break I re-learned. This time the stitches were more even,
the results more gratifying. Like
many knitters I began with scarves–lots of scarves.
learned that knitting is a way for me to make sense of the world. The more clergy knitters I meet, the
more I realize how many of us knit to see tangible results. How often do we come home knowing we
have had a long full day, but unlike accountants who have a completed
spreadsheet, we cannot see the results?
The counseling session may have been fruitful, the capital campaign may
have been planned, the prayers prayed, but often the results are not immediate
and tangible. As pastors, much of
what we do is holy, but hard to see.
However, coming home and picking up the needles and yarn, even for a few
minutes, provides concrete evidence that today we have done something. Knitting was what got me
through CPE. The hours spent in
repetitive seminars had a purpose–the knitting of a big purple blanket that
is still on my couch today.
Through knitting I remember
milestones–the fabric is a scrapbook of sorts. The blue scarf I wore to my Grandfather’s funeral is still
in my winter wardrobe. In my
closet in a bag is the sweater I started when I was seeking my first call. The scarf I wore all last winter was a
splash of color during the short grey days, and long nights. A prayer shawl begun for a friend is
now a wrap I keep in my office for chilly days. There was a sweater I wore when I needed to remember my
gifts and skills. Some people
collect spoons or charms or postcards when they travel–I buy souvenir yarn
and dream about the possibilities contained within.
For me, knitting is sometimes an
act of faith. I may have a plan, I
may know what I want a project to become, but there are always surprises along
the way. The stripes on one sock
are different than the other (who needs matching socks anyway?). The sweater is too short, the blanket
not quite square. Like much of
life, and much of ministry, I find that if I take a deep breath and say a
prayer, God presents the solution I never could have imagined.
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