Taking Time…

Sable snuggles

It was a busy weekend.
I think I’m figuring out the rhythm of working at Hopewell House, and then getting up in time for the Monday morning rush with the public health team. But I can’t pretend I’m not tired.

Of course, I’ve also had one of those weeks… sometimes the heaviness in our hearts is what really exhausts our spirits – the slate-gray weight of life’s struggles dragging on each breath. It’s been hard to even cry.  But easing the burden of grieving families this weekend – loving on those at Hopewell – this has been a candle of joy and peace in my Dark…

And this evening, a dear friend from nursing school called – laughing with her was like beams of sunlight – just hearing her voice made me feel stronger… she reminds me I am a person who can DO what needs to be done – even when I feel like someone who still hasn’t figured out how to be a proper person yet. I might constantly be playing catch up on this spinning planet — but at least I’m still trying…

In the free moments of the last few days I’ve begun working on a simple ribbed hat for my sister to try out. (Sable here, or one of the other cats, has kept me company.) The yarn is basically a piece of soft string, so it’s taking time, but it’s slowly creating a soft and gentle fabric. Knitting is such a good reminder that beautiful things in life take time to create… there’s nothing wrong with taking the time you need – patience can foster peace and presence – and you are able to experience a lot more of the world when you walk through it slow enough to really notice it. All the wonders of life are revealed to those who are waiting and watching… the color of green that comes alive with spring, the scent of the trees in the rain, the breath of the sea that still echoes within me, the elusive smile in the midst of grief, and even this magic fabric between my fingers from two sticks and a ball of string.

So be patient with yourselves and each other, my dear-ones. You don’t know who is too tired to shed the tears they’re carrying…

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Knitted with Love…

It is finished. The sweater is done.

I need to block it still, but the ends have been woven in, and it fits well. The fabric has a nice weight to it, and I love the textures as much as I knew I would. The asymmetry in the hem and the sleeve cuffs adds interest too (though as I was working the cuffs I couldn’t help thinking it was a lot of detail for something I will probably just push up or roll up – knowing me 😉).  I had so much fun seeing this piece come to life –  I already miss having it on my needles…

Knitting is some kind of beautiful magic – you take two sticks and a piece of long string, add some time and attention, and “Poof!” – something brand new is brought into being. A new article that warms the body and/or the soul – whether sweater or teddy bear. 😊  I love the blend of challenge and meditation – I love how it forces me to learn and grow… in knitting, I get the chance to make mistakes, figure them out, and fix them without worrying about timelines or consequences…

Shortly after finishing the sweater, an article came across my Google feed about a worldwide volunteer organization called the Loose Ends Project. This is a group of “finishers” who volunteer to complete projects left behind when loved ones die so that grieving families can have their final project. I read about it at one in the morning… by one-thirty, I had completed the sign up process. The group matches finishers to families in their proximity according to their craft – so it’s just a matter of time until a project is sent my way.  I am amazed that so many people around the world are involved – and  thrilled to get to be one of them. It’s a unique blend of my love for knitting and my love for the grieving…

Sometimes we’re given opportunities to love others in practical ways. Love embodied in hands and feet and voices – this is one of the gifts of our humanity. In a world full of violence and pain, fear and grief – Love made Real is what gives us hope, soothes our troubled hearts, and reminds us we aren’t alone. In this way, we “knit” ourselves to each other on this spinning planet – a kind of knitting we can all do.

So knit tenderly, my loves… we need each other.

Progress…

A sleeve!

I made progress on my sweater this morning – before the day became too much. (A sleeve is taking shape!)


There were tears later… alone in traffic… with a mind that was just too loud on top of the stress the day itself provided.  I had to have Google maps going so that I wouldn’t  get lost, and no other distractions playing because traffic was so awful… but that meant there wasn’t  enough for my brain to focus on to keep it busy. So it was free to return to traumatic and distressing memories, even though I regularly brought it back from them… bits and pieces of the last almost 3 decades over and over again. Even constantly giving my mind some other thought couldn’t keep the tears away.

However, this drive resulted in finally completing the last pieces of my name reversion in my professional world. Now, I won’t have to deal with the constant reminder of what was every time I check my email with the county or see my name on the Team somewhere. This is a huge relief for my psyche. Seeing my name – my name that was mine so many years ago – seeing it in print brings a brightness to my mind’s eye and gives me a solid feeling under my feet. It has been a huge hassle, but it’s finally done. Despite everything (or maybe because of it all), I know who I am.

Tonight, as I listen to the woodstove crackle and tap in the soft twinkle-lights, I am resting – the day is finally over. For this moment, with the warmth of a cat breathing beside me and the sound of the boys’ voices floating from their room – right now, all is well. I am so grateful. We are safe, we are hopeful, and we are loved.

Be tender with each other, my dear-ones… we are all just trying to keep going as the earth spins away our days… May we have the chance to give the safety, hope, and love to each other that we all need. Be gentle to the souls you meet – you don’t know the tears they shed today…

Undreamed Graces…

I found a few minutes to work on the sleeve of my sweater today while sitting in a waiting room. My phone had no connection, and there was no wi-fi, so I had an excuse to take a break from studying the training modules for my new weekend position – and knitting was just what I needed to help process all the doors in my life that have opened since the turn of the year. As the yarn moved through my fingers and off my needles, the cacophony of thought in my mind began to calm and coalesce into one steady stream…

Somehow, I have been blessed to join a team of amazing people who are re- opening the only in-patient hospice house in our metro area. Hopewell House has such a beautiful history, and now it is being reincarnated for today – it feels miraculous… even more so because I get to be part of this new beginning. As my hands worked the yarn, I let my mind quiet with the awe and gratitude that washed over me while thinking about this new journey. It feels like a dream… it’s such a privilege to work with those who are living their last days — however many they may be — but to get to do so in this environment created specifically for them… with this team… the reality of it takes my breath away and brings tears to my eyes.

In these last couple of weeks, I have found the depth of gratitude for this new path has left my eyes welling up with tears on a regular basis, yet unpredictably… and it has made me more sensitive to all the smaller graces I might not have usually noticed – the smell of morning coffee blending with the first laughs of the day coming from the boys’ room – such a small thing, and yet even the memory of it now is pricking my eyes with grateful tears… or the warmth of a bed in the middle of the night with a kitty companion (or two) beside me – silky-soft, breathing gently in the dark… such complete peace.

Tonight, I can only feel deep gratitude. All the trauma and confusion of this last year… but to be here now – it is more than worth it. Proof once again that we never know what will be revealed when the darkness on our path is lifted…
Take courage and keep walking my dear-ones – there are undreamed graces ahead…

#undreamedgraces

You Amaze Me.

BEANNACHT
By John O’Donohue

It’s the last day of the year…
I am in a drastically different life-path than I ever imagined 365 days ago. This ride around our star has brought so much change in such a short period of time. My journey here is only recognizable in bits and scattered parts – yet pieces that had faded from my past have suddenly been brought back into focus and beautifully woven into my present. I feel somehow more myself and yet still a bit lost in how this self moves through the world now.
I am so free…
Free to love, free to laugh, free to live…
But there is fear…
Fear of the unknown, fear of pain, fear of loss…

What a mystery it is to be human. Our entire species, and every living thing we know, travels this universe on one beautiful, blue sphere — round and round in circles we go… there is nothing new under the sun. We are all so much the same – we are born into breathing, and with our last breath we leave behind everything we’ve known. The planet just continues spinning as if nothing happened… as if no one’s entire world has been changed forever.

Every new morning someone here wakes up to a whole new world… a new year… a new way of living without the loves lost in the Night — all of Grief’s firsts before them and memories behind. How easy it is to forget that we’re all carrying the weight of Loss, and these weights cannot be compared. Your loss is just as real as mine — your joys are tempered by your fears and sorrows just as mine are…

And we’re all just trying to make it through this current planetary spin – evening and morning – this present day. You would think we would have more compassion for all the others that surround us. Who am I to question the needs and loves of the birds and the bees that fly these skies – let alone those of my human neighbors who walk this world with me? How can we not love each other in pure amazement at how similar we are in our unique-unrepeatable-DNA-ness? The world your eyes see is not the same as mine, and will never be seen again as you see it — yet it will remain long after the last time our eyes close…

This New Year blessing by John O’Donohue is for you, my fellow earth-riders. You amaze me.
I love you.