Monday, October 12, 2015

Faith and Left-Handed Knitting

When I was 10 years old, my mother went back to work for a craft company. She’d organize parties at people’s homes and after a hands-on craft lesson she would take orders for the craft kits sold by her company (much like the old Tupperware parties). She taught me how to do all the crafts and took me along with her to teach the craft at the party. My favorite part was when Mom started the sales pitch: “Now ladies, if my ten year old daughter can do you, you can.”

I learned and taught needlepoint, cross stitch, crewel (embroidery), rug hooking, macramé, and stain glass. I also learned crochet from my grandmother. Later on, I learned to sew and eventually was bitten by the quilting bug. I taught myself jewelry making, scrapbooking, and silk flower arranging as well. Now I’m teaching myself to knit. Being left-handed, I needed to find special instructions because like most everything else in the world, knitting is generally a right-handed craft. I’ve been able to find some basic left-handed instructions, but for the most part, I will have to reverse what I see and read in books and videos.

When I think about my faith, it has a lot in common with crafting. Faith is modeled and taught to us. We see and imitate from someone who has already learned the faith. And then braving the next step we take what we see and try to do it ourselves. As we are still learning the intricacies of how to be faithful, we are teaching others along the way. We are going to make mistakes. Even the most experienced crafter makes mistakes.

In any craft, you have to learn the basics first. With knitting it is how to hold the needles, how to get the yarn on the needle to start, the motions required to create the knit stitch and how to take the yarn off the needle properly so the work doesn’t unravel. In faith, we have to learn the basics first as well—Our Holy God and Creator loves us so much that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead so that through his grace and his action, we sinners could be forgiven and in relationship with him for eternity. When we turn to him in acknowledgement of this, he gives us his Spirit to guide, comfort, teach, and empower us. That’s it. That’s all you have to know to live a life of faith. That life of faith grows, deepens, expands and blossoms as we learn more and live more into our faith. Because we are sinful human beings we are going to make mistakes along the way. Sometimes in crafting, we have to make the mistake to learn exactly what not to do. We have to undo and redo and sometimes we have to start over before we learn how to create a specific stitch. At first it may seem unnatural, but in time, after repeating it over and over again, the individual aspects of living out of our faith will be automatic.

Now a thought about being left-handed—A right handed person will never understand the way I see and interact with the world. They can’t. The world is set up for being right-handed. There is no frame of reference. I’ve had to learn how to do everything I do in a world slanted for right-handed people and I’ve had to do it left-handed. Being a Christian in the world is kind of like being left-handed. We aren’t meant to be apart from the world but living in the world while still maintaining our faith and our Christianity. That’s just my two cents.

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