This week I’ve been working on two knitting projects that are very different.
The first is one of the prayer shawls we dedicated this morning. You make them on very large needles. The pattern is repetitive. I have made a couple of dozen, at least, in the past two years or so, and I know by feel if I have gotten off-kilter.
But the other project is not so easy. I’m knitting a pair of socks, and I am on a deadline. For some reason, a few months ago, I thought it sounded like a good idea to sign up for a sock exchange. It is called SockapalOOOza. The idea is that you make a pair of socks for someone while someone else is making a pair of socks for you. You receive the person’s foot measurements, their fiber preferences (wool, for instance) and some suggestions of favorite colors. On a certain day in the future, you mail the socks to your person, and someone else mails a pair of socks to you!
It was January, and the deadline seemed so far away, and the project sounded so manageable.
The mailing date is Tuesday, and I am still working on a sock. The good news? It’s the second sock. The bad news? I still have a ways to go before it is finished.
You may be asking—well you may be asking many questions about the advisability of this whole sockscapade, but I am determined to finish, and come up with a reasonably good pair of socks, not to be a SockapalOOOser.
The main thing that slowed me down? The size of the needles and the yarn. Those stitches are teeny-tiny!! My eyes just don’t have what it takes to keep track of them. I remember now why I gave up counted cross-stitch.
And may I also say that if I get in bed with a book but have forgotten to leave my glasses on, I may as well just turn out the light?
It’s hard to do things we want to do when we can’t see.
I’ve been thinking about Luke’s Jesus, who appears to the disciples and eats fish and opens their minds after opening their eyes with his presence. His message is different from the one we read in John, when Jesus tells Thomas it’s superior to believe without seeing. And maybe sometimes that is true. If we are going to wait around for objective proof of God’s existence or the decorating scheme of heaven, we are going to wait for a long time. Most of the time, we have to take things on faith. We have to know them inside ourselves without being handed the proof.
But there are times when we really do get to see the light, when we really do see the way things are, and that is the way it is supposed to be. This is not my first time knitting socks; it is my second pair. And there would have been no first pair if it hadn’t been for Mrs. Needlewoman. I could not get the idea of picking up the stitches for the gusset after turning the heel. I just could not visualize what I was meant to do next. Then Mrs. N helped me. She took off her shoe and showed me the sock she was wearing and showed me what I would be doing with the somewhat pitiful tube of yarn on the rather horrifying double-pointed needles. Suddenly I got the connection between the pattern on the page and the project on the needles! That was a year-and-a-half ago, but when it was time to do the same thing for this pair of socks, I remembered how it was supposed to work. I could see what I was doing.
Sometimes we do need to look and see. We need to look at one another. We need to be ready to see God acting through other people. To do that we have to keep our eyes open, the eyes in our heads and the eyes of our minds. We need to look closely not just at the tiny little stitches on the needle, but at the whole sock, to see what is truly happening. Then we may see and believe.