I spent the last several evenings working on a shawl I knit over a decade ago. Well actually I have been repairing this shawl. I have been knitting patches for this shawl which is something that I have never done before. I made my mother-in-law this shawl. And she has worn it a lot. I love that about Linda – she actually puts knitted gifts to use.
(I love lots and lots of things about my mother-in-law. Like how we both love the same people so very – very much. We formed an instant bond years ago, because we both love Jason. And now all these years later we both love even more of the very same people. Now we have even more in common. How cool is that?!)
So back to the shawl. This shawl hasn’t been in a drawer. It hasn’t been in the back of a closet. It hasn’t been gathering dust someplace. Instead – this shawl got used. It got used a lot. It got used so much – it got great BIG holes in it.
And the last time we were together Linda asked me if I could fix it.
“Hmmm. . . . Those are some really big holes.” I said while running my knitterly hands over the shawl and contemplating the holes (as knitters do) – “Maybe I should just make you a new shawl.”
“No thank you” said my lovely mother-in-law. “I really like this one. I wear while I read and while I do my Bible studies (she had me at Bible studies – by the way) on the sun porch in the winter or when the air conditioning gets too cold in the summer.”
Then she took the shawl away from me to model it for me just in case I didn’t understand how important this particular shawl was to her.
“But” – I said – “I remember that yarn and that pattern. I made it when we still lived in Wabash (over 10 years ago). I am afraid it is too far gone to be saved . . .even silk and wool yarn have a lifespan.”
“You can do it” – she said.
“I’ll try – but it will mean cutting your shawl apart . . . I will either fix it or destroy it. There won’t be any middle ground” – I warned her.
“I trust you” – she replied. (I suppose she does trust me. After all her son and two of her beloved grandsons live with me).
So I cut up Linda’s shawl on Monday evening. I know that most of you reading this are not knitters – so please understand – that was a very – very BIG DEAL. Scissors and knitting do not mix. I do not cut holes in my knitting. Doing so tends to destroy my knitting. I literally took my sharpest knitting/sewing scissors and I cut out the places that had holes in them. I made a VERY BIG hole in her shawl with my scissors. I ended up removing 4 of the mitered squares. And now I am knitting new ones. I replaced the old ones – but you will be able to see immediately what I have done. You will be able to see the mending.
The new squares are in gray yarn – but this yarn is from a different company. This yarn is a lot less fancy. It is a nice sturdy gray wool. This job needed a sturdy yarn. Besides there was no way I was going to get anything that would match the original yarn (the yarn company that made the original yarn stopped making that yarn years ago) so I didn’t even try. I decided to embrace to contrast – to embrace the patching – to embrace the fact that life had done some damage to Linda’s shawl. The mending will be very obvious when I am done. The “cool” kids call this visible mending.
And I have been thinking a lot while I have been knitting these patches on Linda’s shawl and while making these repairs. I have been thinking about how we all have our broken spots. We all have our worn out places and those places where we hurt or ache or are just a tiny bit creaky. Some of us may even have spots where we feel like we might just start to come unraveled if someone pulled too hard! After all – none of us gets through this life unscathed. Life and living just don’t seem to work that way.
And I doubt very much that any of us have gotten through these past few months unscathed or at the very least unchanged. Staying safe at home has changed us. COVID-19 has changed us. Living through the spring of 2020 has changed us. We have been changed. We have all been changed. And I am guessing that the changes are going to keep right on coming for the next few months. After all – just going to the grocery store looks and feels so very different these days. And we all know that coming to church is going to look and feel different too.
As I worked on Linda’s shawl – I realized that I really liked the patches. I liked the character that they gave the shawl. I liked the way the patches didn’t try to hide the wear and tear – but instead just embraced it. And that is how I am going to try to think about these past few months and how I hope to approach the upcoming months. I am going to look for the good and the beauty in them. I am going to try to embrace the challenges that they brought to me and the lessons that I have learned.
I am going to try to embrace the change. I am going to try really hard to see the beauty and the good in this strange new world of ours (and no I am not saying that COVID-19 is in anyway a good thing or a blessing). I am going to try to bend and adapt and to be a bit more agile. I am going to continue to seek God’s presence. And I am especially going to seek God’s presence in those places that seem surprising – in those places where I might not expect to find him to be at first glance. I am going to try to dig just a bit deeper.
And I hope that you might join me in this. Let’s try to embrace the changes that life brings our way. Let’s try to see the beauty in the patches and the twists and the turns and all that the next few weeks and months bring. Let’s seek God’s presence in our lives even when our lives aren’t what we were expecting them to be! After all – I think even patches and mended things can be beautiful.
You are all in my heart, thoughts, and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –