This Lenten season I gave up screen entertainment. Meaning that I’m not watching any TV or movies, no YouTube or Facebook, no games on my phone or tablet (only Sunday through Thursday, I’m not that intense). Instead I am spending my free time focusing on more productive habits like reading, and having more intentional time with God. This has been amazing so far but I quickly realized something, I am in need of an activity less stimulating than reading but more stimulating than listening to music. This week, I chose to explore knitting.
I used to love knitting. It was one of my favorite past times. I loved having something to do with my hands when I was watching TV or listening to music. I loved having something I could make for friends and families for gifts. It was a wonderful and rewarding hobby, but years ago I gave it up.
I struggled for most of college, and in my junior year I hit an extreme low. So low that I left Chicago for a semester to live with my parents in San Antonio. I had multiple health issues, both physical and mental, a couple major relationships go up in smoke and I needed time to heal. I went home and found myself spending all day in bed with nothing to do, so I tried to focus on knitting. I vividly remember the project I worked on that semester, the project that would rapidly turn my love of knitting into hate. I was working on small stuffed bagels (I know it’s weird, I promise it makes sense) for my support group back in Chicago. We had met weekly to discuss our mental health and started each meeting with the same prompt, “Describe your week with a bagel”. Sometimes it would be a burnt bagel with not enough cream cheese. Others it would be a bagel perfectly toasted with cream cheese and jam. It was our way of processing. I wanted to make a bagel for each friend in the group, describing our relationship. A classic with jam for my best friend, who would always be my favorite. A cinnamon bagel for the friend whose sense of humor brought such a sweetness to the group. This project, that started with so much heart and joy, ended with frustration and ultimately stopping my knitting hobby. Because of my various health problems I struggled with keeping my hands steady, so I would frequently drop stitches, and I struggled with staying focused, so I would frequently lose my place in the pattern. This was beyond frustrating and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth for a hobby I once loved. I quickly gave up trying to enjoy knitting, gave all my supplies to friends and walked away from it all together.
Fast forward several years, I am in good health both physically and mentally, and I’m not using any screens for entertainment! I need something to serve as my middle ground of stimulation. Enter this long forgotten hobby. I have seen people knitting in meetings or at coffee shops over the past couple weeks, and I have slowly felt an old longing for a familiar hobby. So this week, as I walked through Michaels, I decided to go for it and bought some yarn and needles.
I don’t know if I will ever get back to knitting on a regular basis or if it will simply be for a season, but I do know this; knitting will never just be a hobby, but always a symbol of something much more beautiful.
I lost a hobby that brought me great joy and peace to the crippling darkness of my poor physical and mental health, and yet a new dawn has come and joy has returned. I see the grace of God in abundance as I relearn an old skill. Each time I pick up my needles and yarn I am reminded of my health, of the journey the Lord has brought me through, of the people God has given me who have walked with me through the valleys of darkness. Each time I pick up my needles and yarn I breathe a prayer of thanksgiving for all that I have traveled through and all the Lord has taught me. Each time I pick up my needles and yarn I remember that though weeping may linger for the night, joy comes with the mornings (Psalm 30:5b).