Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Three things the knitting needles taught me.

When my sweet friend Anthea gave me a ball of wool one Sunday after church, my first thought was to to pass it onto my dear mother, the much better knitter and accomplished crafter. Then I looked around at the groups forming in our church pews. Baby knitters negotiated their way around needles to cast on their first row with the able help of those familiar with this beloved pastime. Others, old friends with the cadence of knit and purl, tucked their wool into handbags and pockets, eager to get started at home. All of them, committed to knit woollen blanket squares for the Born-To-Knit campaign sponsored by Save the Children Australia. And I did not want to be left out.

So I revisited the skill my mother taught me, when, as a nine year old, I found myself stuck in bed with the chicken pox. And while I did, God met me there, to impress on my heart a few more life lessons.

1. Mistakes are ugly.
Unlike the gap left by a lost tooth in a little child's smile, a dropped stitch is not at all cute. As creator of this piece, I discovered I couldn't continue knitting when one of my much needed stitches fell away. Not only did my square look wrong sporting a hole, it grieved me to think its purpose would be compromised. 

2. Mistakes are worth fixing.
The first time I suffered a loss, I packed my knitting into the car and drove to Mum's house for help. I couldn't remember how to correct a mistake until I watched her pull the needle off the square and remedy my mess. How good it looked, all restored! Days later, when it happened again, I did the same. Horrified, my kids looked on as I slid the needle away leaving the knitted square vulnerable to more unravelling. But I knew what I had to do this time, and so I mounted my own salvage attempt. 

3. Mistakes are the materials of God's restoration.
While I hated to stop the rhythm of my knitting, I knew I had to retrace my steps and return to where the damage occurred. I had to slow down and work with great patience. Sometimes, this meant undoing many rows to get to my mistake. To approach the error from an unfamiliar angle and work at the delicate task of gathering what was lost. To acknowledge wrong. To sacrifice something in exchange for restoration. 

And it's here where I savoured the best lesson. God reminded me how much He has done to rescue me. How much He sacrificed to ransom all those who belong to Him from where they've slipped, and how He wants me to weave this in my life and relationships.

If I care so much for a lost thread of wool, how much more does He care for those who belong to Him? 

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
Luke 19:10