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The topic of our low vision support group one day last year was crafts people who are blind or visually-impaired can do. I was talking about round-loom knitting and showing the group some of the hats, mini-blankets and scarves I had made. 

After the meeting, a woman named Joyce approached me and pointed at my scarf. “It’s lovely!” she said. “Did you make that?” 

“Sure did!” I said. “Do you think I could learn how to knit like that?” she asked. “You sure can!” I told her. That was the first of many times she called me “remarkable.”

When you first meet someone, you may ask, “What job do you do?” But more telling is this one: “What job do you do on others?”

Joyce passed away recently and, boy, she did a job on me, okay. Made me feel like a genius. As if I’d invented knitting on a round-loom.

She made me feel like an angel. As if telling her she could still be crafty and creative, even with her visual impairment, was like manna from heaven.

More important than the question of, “What did you do for a living” is this one: “How did you make a life?”

Did you soldier on despite setbacks and health issues? Huzzah, indeed. Did you keep a positive attitude, even though you were facing some serious problems? Bully for you! 

These are the minute miracles that people accomplish and never give themselves credit for. Being a “yes” in a world filled with “no” is a feather in your cap.

No one knows what another human being is going through on any given day. The most we can hope for is that we show up for each other when our paths cross, and that we lighten the load for a fellow traveler when we can.

At the end of her life, Joyce was still encouraging everyone around her. We only saw each other at low vision support group meetings, and kept in touch by email and on the phone only occasionally. Still, she made an impact on my life. She was a lesson in fortitude. In graciousness. In loving-kindness.

Dear friend, you will not be forgotten.

A skirt, take 2.

I knit.  Saying that you are a knitter isn’t quite the same as saying you are a preacher or a teacher, because people don’t define you by the fact that you take up needles and yarn and turn it into . . . something.  But maybe they should.

The one and only time I made a pair of gloves, I had just about finished the second glove.  All I had left to do was cut the yarn and work the tail back into the glove. But something made me take a second look.  I got out the first glove and put them side by side.  Then, I laughed.  I laughed so hard that I howled.  I had made not one, but two left hand gloves.

The real surprise came when I told several friends about this.  “I guess I’ll rip it out tonight and start again,” I said.   They shook their heads.  “I’d just make two right hand gloves.  I couldn’t stand to have wasted all that time.”

Time spent knitting isn’t time wasted, even when I have to pull something apart and try again.  It isn’t time wasted because I love the process – the act of pulling one loop of yarn through another and coming up with something entirely different in the end.

Yet, it is more than that.  To me, knitting is relaxation. If I sit on our bench outside and knit, I can listen to the sounds of wind and birds and children.  If I am too worked up to pray, I knit and purl and purl and knit.  As I busy my hands, the task of knitting takes up a certain amount of mental power.  Apparently, it takes up just enough brain space to keep my mind busy while simultaneously freeing me from the clutter of scattered thoughts.  Because of this, knitting is one of those times that I can hear that still, small voice.

Having  to re-knit a glove or a sock or even part of a sweater isn’t a catastrophe.  It is simply time to sit quietly and hear what needs to be heard.

When  I define myself as a knitter, I’m saying much more than “I make things out of yarn.” I am also saying, “I listen and, sometimes, I hear.”

–SueBE

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