Saturday, January 30, 2010

knitting my head around it

My mother tried. She really did. There were machine threading tutorials in elementary school, simple clothing projects in middle school, and countless times when she willingly took over a project I started, and never finished. She tried with all her maternal powers to instill in me the skills and desire to craft and create masterpieces of textile and thread out of my own bare hands... but to no avail. I just simply hated it. I liked the idea of the end product, but had no patience for the process.

Now here I am, thirty years old and wanting to reform my wanderlust ways. To make it worse, I have stumbled across a wicked web of ridiculously gifted and crafty women who will leave you with enough inspiration to knit , sew , photograph, cook, craft, and write for a lifetime. It's out of control how much talent and creativity they have oozing out of their every blogpost.

This desire to become more of a handmade homemaker comes at a time when my resources to do so are more limited than ever. Is that ironic or is there some sort of lesson I'm destined to learn here? And if you know me at all, these "little" questions always lead me skipping, dare I even say galloping at breakneck speed down the path to the BIGGER questions of life. What is my problem? I cannot simply let something bother me like any normal person would. No, it has to PLAGUE my brain to the point of unraveling as I try to resolve all of life's deepest issues, all because of one little thing like not being able to plant a garden, or buy some knitting needles.

It first occurred to me that perhaps there was more to this issue of "wanting to learn to knit" than I realized when I found myself nearly breaking down in tears while reading some of the above mentioned blogs. Who does that? They are supposed to helpful and fun. But, I was really struggling with envy at the lifestyles these women are able to lead and the kind of homes, resources, creative talents, and family lives they have. It forced me to a) stop reading so many blogs, and b) question and think through (for the __nth time... I mean,  how often do most people have to do this??) what my ultimate purpose in life is and why I believe God has our family here, in this place, doing what we do.

When we moved overseas, people would often comment on what an opportunity this was for our children-- to be exposed to another culture and language, etc. etc. I appreciated their sentiments, but it was never the reason we left. And it continues not to be the reason we remain. The phrase "there is no ideal place to raise a family" has gently encouraged me time and time again as I try to remember that though my children miss out on many things here (grass comes to mind), they gain much in return. The same however is true for what they might gain... there are always things we are sacrificing or doing without (bonfires, grandparents, gardening, sledding... lately the list grows long). Sometimes it really bothers me to think of the kind of life we could be (trying) to live back in the States and how little of that we are able to do here. But as my dear friend Jack Lewis says, "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither."

Are you wondering what all this has to do with knitting? I'm painfully trying to get there.

The crazy talented photographer lady (above) calls her site walkslowlylivewildly, which led me to try to think of a succint little phrase that wraps up how we should aim at heaven, while not neglecting this earth. thinknearlivefar? livefullylovew(holy)? Hokey, I know. Thinking through this has been a serious challenge to my inner thought life and how much I do wrap my contentment around this present world. I'm all for living well, and living gratefully and responsibly in the bodies and environment God has given, but I think I'm missing a dose of the eternal perspective lately... the one that says this world IS passing away and that our Highest Joy and joys will be found in the One to come. As Elisabeth Elliot says, if you place your (whatever it is) in his hands as an offering to him... it may burn- but it knows no bounds when in the Potter's perfect hands.

Meanwhile, I knit. It's okay I think, to try to challenge myself with a new project or skill. I'm hopeful that I can somehow tread back over years of ungrateful tutelage and somehow recover some handcrafting skills. But, I'm also growing mindful of my need to think and dwell more on the place and Person I'm heading home to be with someday. Like a Daddy who's missing his girl, I know He has things for me to do (and enjoy) while He's away, but I'll never be truly at home til I'm knitting with Him.

My final January Challenge was supposed to be picking some sort of new skill to learn, but now I'm not sure exactly what that skill is. There appear to be many, both physically and mentally that I am lacking! Hope you are finding your skills (or lack thereof) challenged, whatever they may be...

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