I pick up knitting every few years but I’m not committed. And I’m entirely ok with that. I have this wonderful woven basket that I picked up on a trip through Mexico years ago and it has always housed the yarn and knitting needles I have collected in my on and off years of knitting.
My four year old brought me the basket this morning and asked me to show her how to knit. She lasted about 4 minutes and then wandered off to go play with her big sister leaving me with all the yarn and needles that needed to be organized and untangled. So I have spent the past half hour winding up the yarn that came unraveled and tangled in the year or so it’s been since I last peeked into this basket.
And this last ball of green yarn is massively tangled and is requiring some higher level detailing skills that I am normally too impatient to deal with. And then the act of untangling this particularly tricky ball of yarn triggered an especially poignant moment in my past.
My paternal grandmother, my MamaLina who I was very close to, was an expert seamstress. The dresses she made my sister and I as children are the finest I have ever seen and have lasted so that my own daughters can enjoy their perfection. And she did esquisite hand embroidery where the front and the back were practically identical. For those who understand embroidery know that is no easy task! MamaLina lived to be 91 years old and was a force to be reckoned with until a stroke paralyzed her entire left side and rendered her entirely unable to communicate as she could not speak and write. The stroke did not however affect her cognitive abilities so she had the mind of a young woman trapped in a body that stole her voice. She has so much left to say.
She lived in the Dominican Republic and I could only visit a couple of times in that tortured year that she lay waiting to die, unable to function or communicate. One day, I was sitting at her bedside talking about whatever came to mind, reciting prayers to her and occupying my hands with some knitting that I had brought with me when I got to a point where the yarn was a tangled mess and I became visably frustrated with trying to get it untangled. She was watching my building irritation and reached her one working hand out for me to give her the yarn. I handed her the mess and without looking and with immense patience and intuition, she single handedly unraveled that yarn. It was one of the most beautiful and magical moments I have ever witnessed. She was gone a few short months later and it was a blessing because she was out of such misery. But I will hold that moment in my soul forever.
So as I sit here today surrounded by the tangles of yarn, as well as those of life in general that sometimes turn my insides into its own twisted mess, I am reminded of my MamaLina’s calm and patient fingers as she slowly and skillfully unraveled the fabric that she had interacted with as an art form her entire life. I realize that no matter what mess of my own that I am working out, the way to handle it is to slow down and follow my intuition. Those tangles will unravel if I allow myself some grace, calm, and patience, all of which I could demand more of myself. The small wonders in a regular day sure do open the door for profound recognitions.