The Magic Sock

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Recently I became the inheritee of some yarn.  The yarn and beginnings of numerous creations belonged to a Hope Hospice patient that had succumbed to whatever predatory pestilent pissant betrayed the last years of her life.  I never met the lovely lady—and I am sure she was lovely from her inherited knittings –but as I unpacked the yarn and creations in their various stages of completion I could only think how the stages of life pass us by.

One particular unfinished project caught my eye for multiple reasons.  As I looked at the skein of yarn all I could think of was how I would never buy such a color.  It was a variegated color of mid-tone pastel pink, purple, pistachio, coral, and blue all running into one another like a melted sherbert disaster.  But as I moved the skein there was one finished sock and God forbid an unfinished one.  Not only unfinished but on three double pointed needles with the fourth needle missing in the mayhem I was unpacking.

Now I am a fair knitter.  I have knitted scarves, mittens with and without fingers, vests, and even sweaters that yes I have then worn in public or– Lord help them– given to others expecting them to wear them in public, but I have never knitted socks on double pointed needles.  I avoided them like wool.  But these socks were different.  They were pretty.  I liked them.  I wanted them.  I would have even bought them had I seen them in a store.  My head pivoted like I was at a tennis match back and forth; skein to socks, socks to skein. How odd it seemed to me that I didn’t like the skein but when I saw the socks the yarn was beautiful.  How many times in our life do we not realize the value of something in its self because we can’t imagine it in its togetherness in another form or its combination with another something?  That was a truly sad moment.

I don’t know if it was the fact that this was Hope Hospice yarn, or the spirit of the knitter was entwined therein, but that sock had to be completed.  How exactly without knowing her pattern or ever having tackled such a feat was beyond me, I just know in that moment I was compelled to finish the sock.

So I shot a picture of it and sent it to my mom the knitting guru in my life and asked, “Don’t I need a fourth needle?” to which she of course replied, “How did you get that far without one?”  Now I am fifty so that makes my mother ancient and you know as well as I do that this conversation was over right there and then with one text exchange. My phone rang immediately with her asking the exact same question with an added ‘hell’ to the mix.  I shared the story and she verified that I needed a fourth and walked me through the completion process (very simple indeed, thank goodness) and off I went to find a fourth needle.  As I grabbed the skein to move it off my lap I felt something hard inside and there it was the fourth needle safely tucked right where it should be.

Now for the magic.  As I am knitting the finish of this sock, it seems to only need the part from the heel to the toes, fifteen minutes work tops, but every time I check the length it just needs a few more rounds, and a few more, and a few more.  Kinda like it doesn’t want me to finish?  Kinda like it wants to hang on a little longer.  Kinda like it likes my company and my hands holding on to it.  Could this be the knitter’s spirit holding on, hanging around a little longer, guiding me to make sure I get this right?  I don’t mind in the least; glad for the guidance.

It brings tears to my eyes to think about her and I never even met her.  Odd how someone can touch your life without touching you.   And if she has this much power in my life right now without having ever been in my life, no wonder others that have been in my life have such destructive impact.  How is that so backward and why do we allow it?

So the question I grapple with today as I stopped to write this is do I finish the sock or hang on to her?  I find that she calms me, makes me smile, makes me wonder all about her and life in general (obviously spurred on in the response here), makes me stop and take stock a little more often than usual.  Finishing the sock and wearing them would only trample that right?  Beat it down?  Or worse finishing them only to tuck them away in some drawer unused and forgotten?  But unfinished?  Is that right either?  Seems almost sacrilegious.  With my face scouring at this dilemma a thought eases my creases and I decide.  The sock must be finished.  It is the only way to honor her.  But the sock must be passed on so her spirit can be shared to touch someone else.

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Photo Prompt # 8 Reason for the Season? 12.20.12

Tree

It is inescapable.  Swivel your eyes to the left and you are bombarded with Christmas trees.  Squint to the right and you are inundated with wrapping paper, lights, gift bags, and tinsel.  While your eyes take in the scenery, your ears signal to you that you are humming along with the Muzak playing religious or holiday songs.  And if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time you may be jostled, by like-mesmerized-shoppers, right off your path only to discover you are in front of a shop filled with the wonderful fragrance of gingerbread or peppermint.

Thinking about Christmas this year what struck me was this: why do some people celebrate Christmas if they are non-believers in God?  What purpose do they have for purchasing or exchanging gifts?  Why do they go through the hustle and bustle of the holiday?

As a believer I know that with each token I bestow on someone else I am honoring God and the gift He gave us in the gift of Jesus.  While my tokens certainly don’t measure up, it’s the thought that counts right?  Although my public practices have been stifled by man’s offensive bastardization of what my innocent childhood relied on to be true, I continue to foster my faith by holding true traditions instilled in me from an early age.

Prancer

Not a season goes by that I don’t watch all movie versions of “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Clause”, the only version of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, and of course “Prancer”.  I try not to miss televised offerings of “Frosty”, “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”, and the original “Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. I always hope to catch the Norelco commercial with Santa sledding through the snow.norelco-santa

 

These shows are certainly not religious in nature but they infuse, in my heart at least, the basic kindness that propels humanity toward being compassionate,   kind, and supportive of one another as we journey through our life here on earth just as Jesus portrayed during his journey.  It is the least he expects of us and most days we fall short of the least of his expectations.

I read the story of Jesus’ birth while playing the religious holiday songs that are my favorite.  I contemplate that goal of reading the whole Bible and again have the internal argument about being cheated out of the books someone before me felt didn’t need to be included and what I am missing by not getting to read everything.

So someone tell me what I am missing now.  If you don’t believe in God, what are you celebrating on December 25th?

 

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Where Is God In Tragedy? Photo Prompt #6 12.16.12

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Acceptable answers don’t exist. We are told repeatedly by our religious leaders and faith-filled friends that the answers are not for us to know–at least not now. One day we will know, the adage goes. Today is not the day. You will not find the answer here. I don’t have them. I apologize to you now for not having the answers for you; the same answers I am seeking. Where is God in tragedy?

My venture will be clumsy but I have to make the journey because to do nothing is too crippling and mires me to the anguish. At this point I’m on the quest for hope. Whether you believe in a benevolent God or God at all, I believe in humanity; yes even after Sandy Hook. Maybe–especially after Sandy Hook. Humanity is the only place I can look for answers right now.

A lady once told me that every time she looked into someone’s face the first thing she saw was the face of God. I can remember the discussion was about intolerance and literature and teaching and she was older than I. We were at an English teachers’ conference and her words struck me with such an epiphany of clarity that I have never forgotten the moment. What intolerance led to such an event in Newtown is unclear. How much intolerance measures out the young lives of those taken who cannot possibly have done wrong? Did the carnage erase the calamity he was dealt that drove him to such a rage? Evidently not, since his life was the last he took.

So if you pay attention to God, if you believe, or attention to goodness, or to simple humanity EVERY time you look into the face of another, and filter your thoughts and actions from that angle, maybe, just maybe, the evil that pervades our earth will lose its stronghold and God (insert whatever) won’t have to be doubted. Try to live like the children of Sandy Hook did in their innocence and ignorance to intolerance. Step up as the parents of these children are in their humble handling of a loss so egregious it could have turned them to ash in the firehouse when the words were heard. Be the reflected face of God and extend kindness before rudeness; acceptance before judgment; assistance before blindness; charity before stinginess but most of all love before indifference and power earth with the good that should connect us all instead of tragedy that draws us together shouting why and God where are you?