For just a little while longer, we're here in the sun on vacation, here where the cactus is not quite blooming yet, but the wildflowers are beginning to be bright. For a little while longer, we're not quite observing Lent, at least not in the way we do in the midwest, in that fitful way.
It wasn't so sunny here the first few days we arrived. It was cold and rainy, a shock to our expectations. It absolutely opened up and poured while we were shopping on one of our first days here. We were crestfallen; but my sister and her family, who live here, were overjoyed. They've been in a drought for about fourteen years, they said. They need the rain.
So, I brought my knitting, my new obsession, with me, and I have had opportunities to knit: while riding in the car, while it was raining, when we're tired in the evening. I finished my first pair of socks, a thick pair of house socks out of a pretty worsted-wool. I didn't have to learn the dreaded "kitchener stitch" for this pair. And I felt so good that I have finally done something that has amazed me for years.
I wanted to start another project. I found a wonderful little yarn shop in Scottsdale near where we are staying. It's a tiny building, but I think it's a well-known store among local knitters. And it's chock-full of beautiful yarn and needlepoint materials, too. I walked in thinking I would try a pair of "real" socks", maybe not with the thinnest yarn possible, but maybe with a sport-weight yarn.
But the proprietress showed me this sweater, a kimono sweater, she called it. It was easy, just four rectangles, and I could do so many things with it, and it knits up very easily, she said.
To be truthful, I have never really thought about knitting a sweater. And I did convince her to sell me some more sock yarn and a book to get me started. But I kept thinking about the sweater, how nice it would be to wear something that I had made. I've loved wearing my mittens, but soon it will be too warm. But I also thought about how expensive it would be to knit a sweater, how much time it would take (I have a short attention span, and have unfinished sewing projects to prove it.) I thought about how my mother loved to sew when I was growing up; she sewed almost all of our clothes, including a spring coat for my sister and me when we were small. My mother saved money sewing clothes. Knitting does not save money. So yesterday I stopped back in to get help with my sock, and to buy a crochet hook in the right size. And I looked at the sweater again, but said I wasn't quite ready to make the investment. It would be nine balls of yarn and they estimated between "150 and 180". I wasn't sure what they meant. "Dollars?" I said dumbly. "Yes."
So I kind of thought this would not be prudent of me, to spend that kind of money. And the proprietress said something like this: "You are going about this the wrong way. You are too conservative and cautious. You need something you are passionate about."
And part of me thought, she's just trying to make a sale.
But another part of me thought, she's right. I am conservative and cautious. In many things. Money being just one.
And I just keep thinking about her words, about the possibility of making a kimono sweater, about the other things I am too cautious and conservative to do.
I am still on vacation, but I can't help wondering about the things I am conservative and cautious about, the things my congregation needs me to do, for the sake of the gospel.