Friday, October 12, 2007


Analogy

There is something amazingly peaceful and spiritual, almost magical, about knitting. You are knitters, therefore, you understand this on a deep, visceral level. The other day, I was peacefully knitting and I watched my stitch marker travel oh, so, slowly around the circular needle. No one stitch made the marker slide a great deal. Instead each one added only a tiny bit to the whole. And so, I tried to capture it, to explain it, to attach words to the wonder.

As I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that knitting is a metaphor for life. Each day we get up, shower, dress, have breakfast. We work; we play; we shop; we clean; we parent; we manage relationships with spouses and co-workers and friends; we worship. Sometimes we can't see beyond the individual day - the doctor's appointment, the parent-teacher conference, the annual review - but somehow each of these days is strung to the one before it and the one after it and all together those days form a life.

And so it is with knitting.

When we knit a single stitch, typically, we see just that one stitch. It is only when we string a series of them together that we begin to see the work as a whole. Sure, there are yarns that make a single stitch a joy and a beauty to behold in its solitary yarny wonder - just like a spectacular sunset or a rainbow makes an ordinary day sparkle and shine and rise above the mundane. Normally, though, it is only in the collection of a series of stitches that we see the loveliness.

This is especially true for lace knitting. Lace seems to be a metaphor for life in the difficult times, the dark times, the spiritual valleys. When things are difficult in our lives, it is very hard to focus on the big picture. It is hard to see that those things around us will ever be anything other than dismal, dreary, and tiresome. No matter how hard we work, there always seems to be something more to do, something left undone, something that didn't turn out exactly right. And it saddens us even more.

The soft, amorphous mass of skinny string on the needles looks miserable. It looks as though we have spent all of our time an energy on a worthless heap of knots. Right up until we gently bathe it and block it. Then we see the astonishing transformation from worthless heap to gorgeous lace.

Life is like that. When we are working so hard in difficult situations, we cannot see beyond the immediacy of our circumstances. It is only later, when we have come successfully through our trials, when we have reached the mountain top, when we have the opportunity to reflect, that we look back and see that we have transformed (or been transformed), that we have emerged stronger and wiser and become more beautiful people, more gentle souls.

Peace.

15 yarns:

lorinda said...

Beautifully said. What a lovely reminder as I start my day. Thanks.

Rachael said...

That was lovely. We have been going through a difficult time over the last year, lost too many close family members, dealt with job frustrations, all that compounded by being far away from the family we have left...so dh is looking for a job to relocate, but it all seems to happen so slowly, and sometimes I wonder if it's ever going to happen at all.

It's inspiring to think that someday we will look back on all this and remember the hardship, but at the same time be able to enjoy the beauty of our stronger relationship and the joy of that moment because we have gone through this one.

Though honestly, I feel more like we're working on a very practical sweater out of cascade 220 than a gorgeous piece of lace!!

You've comforted me today, it helps me to remember that things will not always be like this - but sometimes it's hard to see beyond the struggle of the immediate moment(or knitting catastrophe). Thank you.

Cindy said...

Well put.

mehitabel said...

Thank you for that eloquent reminder that there is a purpose to all this "daily" stuff. Like Rachael, I've had a series of bad years and now find myself at a crossroads where the most attractive one (to me) means hurt to the people I love most. So, how do I choose? (No answer needed, it's just rhetorical. I think I'll go knit some lace!)

JustApril said...

Very true

Kate said...

Beautifully put! Thank you for sharing...

sopranospinner said...

I've been having a very difficult time, which came to a head this week, and could use a little distance for reflection. Please pray (with me) that it will come soon! Right at the moment I feel as though I've paid in a lot of misery and am waiting for the reward...

Chris said...

What a lovely post, Trek - thank you.

Lorraine said...

Amen!

Esoteric Knitter said...

Poetically put! :)

trashalou said...

Wow! Philosophy and knitting. I love your analogy an dwil be sharing the message.

Are you OK if I link to this?

Sheepish Annie said...

Nicely said. And it gives me some hope that my own pile of knotted string will block out into something close to what I was hoping for in the end.

mrspao said...

That is a really beautiful post. Thank you.

April said...

Wow.

Just wow.

Stephanie said...

Lovely. Simply beautiful.