I have this beautiful friend. Fiery red hair. Eyes that cut straight through your thoughts with a razor sharpness that catches the breath. She’s a mama of three stunningly awesome kids, a knitter, a teacher, an avid reader, a wife (to an equally amazing husband), a source of good laughs, and definitely an inspiration of determination, strength, and hope.
Her story is … both heartbreaking and love-filled at the same time and not one I’m quite comfortable sharing quite yet (she also lives a very personal life), but I’ve got a lot of emotion built up as I battle those questions we all ask in these situations.
Right now, she’s fighting for her health, her future .. her life, in the hospital, far away from where I live. The dramatic ups and downs of the ICU wreaking havoc upon her body, but also all of our emotions, our hearts, our faith. I remember, when we were together back in 2010, she said, with such calm certainty and far too much grace, “Oh, I don’t like any of this, but I can only move forward with what I have, who I am now.”
She’s like that small boat in a giant ocean, with huge waves threatening to push her down. And yet … and yet, throughout every trial, every struggle, every nightmarish scenario, she’s come out swinging like a lion. She said, “I don’t have to fall apart… I can’t.” My fiery friend.
I’ve been reflecting on her words for the past couple of weeks as I battle the insecurity, doubt, true fear that we all face in times like this. I’m so far away and I struggle with the helplessness of it all. I’m not even close enough to do anything for her family as they seek to maintain.
Add in the turmoil and chaos that rains in the rest of the world … the violence, anger … What in the world can I possibly do from here with what I have?
Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart, and a fruit upon the tree of humility.” ~ Bahá’u’lláh
Be a breath of life.
Let my words be a breath of fresh air to those around me, so that it catches up in the wind and breathes farther than I could on my own.
Let my hands knit with purpose and mindfulness, remembering how connected we all truly are.
Let my actions have the power to enliven and comfort, in spite of the trauma and drama that threatens.
I don’t know what is going to happen, what it means, or what to do. Hell, I don’t know anything, really. Except … I know what my friend means to all of us who love her. I know what she inspires through her own fight. I know that I have to do what she’s taught me: moving forward with what I have, with who I am right now.
That’s what knitting lets us do, doesn’t it?
I pulled out this yarn that I’ve been saving for something special. I had saved for a whole month in anticipation of my first ever fiber festival (the Southeaster Fiber Fest), way back in, I think, 2006? I was so overwhelmed by the many, many stalls of color and texture, the sharp scent of nearby alpacas and llamas, and the crowds of “my people.” Actually, overwhelmed may be too simple: I was wickedly confused and not sure what to spend my hard-earned money on. This woman, working at the Brooks Farm Yarn booth took pity on me, I think. She put her arm around me and guided me to this wall of yarn and whispered, “The trick to finding the perfect yarn is with the neck test.” She smiled as she picked up the yarn and draped it around my neck, “if it feels good there, then you know its the one. Warm, comfortable, soft, and gentle.”
Gentle, not only on the neck, but on the hands and heart. Ever since, I’ve always shopped for my yarn that way. And I bought that yarn she draped around my neck, knowing it deserved a special project.
Last night, I finished up my deadline projects early and cast-on for a blanket. One in which each stitch will be infused with my heart, my breath of fresh air. To carry my love deep within. For my friend. #knittingwithmyheart