Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How I Discover that Knitting Can Be Therapeutic

At long last I have finally finished my very first prayer shawl, fringe and all. I wove in the ends and put in the Prayer Shawl label. I believe it has even been blessed.

In the meantime, I also began and completed a pink baby blanket. (It has yet to be "blocked", but otherwise, I think it's done.) I don't know who it's for, yet. But I've had the pink yarn for a couple years, from another time I got an idea or two, so I threw caution to the wind and just decided to do a pink shawl in faith that eventually, the baby would appear.

Now I'm starting a simple scarf, but with one interesting detail: the scarf is supposed to have a hole in the middle of it.

I do believe I'm on a roll.

I had a strange, rare feeling when I was folding up the completed shawl, and as I finished binding off on the baby blanket. It's a feeling that I don't get that often in my line of work. It's not satisfaction; I feel satisfied every time I baptize baby, or take communion to a shut-in, or have a deep conversation, or preach a sermon.

It's more a sense of completion, a sense that something is finished, whether perfect or not.

I hardly even get that sense in my life. Almost everything I do (and including and especially the social justice work) is ongoing. I take communion to Mary this month; I'll take communion to her again next month. I prepare lessons and write sermons and plan worship, and then I do it again. And in our community, we work toward racial justice, toward healthier communities, co-creators with God in finishing the world.

But each step is just that: the next step.

The world is not finished yet.

The shawl, though: that is finished, it is put in the bag, and it will be given to someone, complete with prayers. There were a couple of flaws in the yarn, and I was learning how to join yarn, but it's done and prayed over now, and it's good for my heart.

Co-creating with God, repairing the world, we're doing work that will never really be finished, not until God in Christ comes to make all things new.

In the meantime, it's good to know that every once in awhile we can bind off.


Lauralew said...

This is a great post, Diane. Thought provoking. Work with a beginning and an end vs ongoing work and the different energies involved in doing both. Will think about this some more!

angela said...

It is very nice to see someone wear your project too. I hope someday somewhere you'll see someone with a prayer shawl that looks exactly like the one you made. I've struggled with the idea that they should all look alike. Mine might not.

A concrete project is very important. I remember that was a big need when I was in teaching too.

Diane said...

ah yes, Angela. You brought up osmething very important. To have a concrete physical project, something you can touch and look at when you are done.

Mompriest said...

Yes, having a project that can be finished, completed, is awesome. I also like the creative process, that in knitting I am creating something. I love to watch what ever I am making unfold, be created. And I am still such a novice that when I make a mistake or when a mistake appears I have to ponder how I did that. I made it, now how will I undo it? Or leave it? A flaw from it's creation that will always be there?

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Writing from Illinois:
I crochet, not knit, but I relate to the finished concrete item feeling. I like to crochet because it is very repetitive, yet something comes of it. It is soothing in the repetitiveness. I've tried complex crocheting and, though I was capable of the complexity, it made me have to think, stitch after stitch, so it wasn't relaxing or theraputic, only stressful. I have other avenues in my life where I have to think, plan, or be creative. It was nice to have something come of this somewhat mindless work that is lasting. Doing the dishes is mindless, but it doesn't last.

Auntie Knickers said...

Almost you make me want to knit! Very insightful post. I am curious about the scarf that's supposed to have a hole in the middle, though.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Yes, yes, this is so true. I am lucky in that my job has built in completion point because everything is geared to deadlines, but it's good to have your own things to complete.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Yes, yes, this is so true. I am lucky in that my job has built in completion point because everything is geared to deadlines, but it's good to have your own things to complete.