The round-bellied robins appear rather perplexed with the blanket of snow and the sharp cold as Winter holds on with a tenacious grip. But in spite of the snow and cold, Spring really is here though it’s hard to be patient with her fashionably late arrival.
My knitting needles are busy these days as I work to prepare a coverlet for the precious contents of another round belly. As I knit the bamboo thread into fabric, I wonder about the wee one being knit together in his/her mommy’s womb. Girl or boy? Dark or fair? Blue eyes or brown?
“You make all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb” says the Psalmist. God and I – co-conspirators in our knitting projects.
I am struck too, as I knit, of the slowness of the work. Knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one, with varying pattern across 159 stitches, row upon row upon row. Each stitch is a needed part of the whole and each stitch needs to knitted into the work. A good work it seems is often slow, maybe even tedious at times, as it comes together. When the work is first cast on, it is a skinny row of stitches that is hard to work with, and there is little to indicate the beauty of the completed work. Sometimes the work needs to be torn out and unravelled because of a miscount that will throw off the whole piece. But with each knit one, purl one, the work grows and takes shape and the pattern emerges. All the stitches add together to create and form the little blanket.
Fifty years ago, I was being knit together in my mother’s womb. The days of a life continue the knitting project. What patterns will emerge? What beauty will be seen on the growing edges? When stitches are dropped or the work unravels, am I patient with my own soul as I endeavour to reattach to the needles, or, maybe more accurately, the needles pick me up again? Knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one… Sometimes a project is discarded, sitting forgotten in a basket collecting dust, waiting. The Knitter is doing a good work, a slow work, but a good work. At times I lose sight of that good work in me as I get tangled in my knotted threads and only feel the stretch of the growing edge, but don’t see the emerging beauty of it. Gently, with patient fingers, the Knitter holds me as a precious work and works carefully away with the snarled parts to unveil a stitched together piece of art.
I leave you with one of my favourite poems.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin