Post Author: Julie A. Jensen
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.
I 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.
The Rev. Julie A. Jensen is the Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Cartersville, GA. When she's not at night meetings at church, she can be found knitting and purling on her couch while watching crime dramas and cooking shows.
Image by: Julie Jensen
Used with permission