Saturday, October 24, 2015

Unraveled, or A 6 Month Reflection

 It’s been a few weeks since I posted.  Actually several weeks.  This is solely (or almost solely) due to the new hobby/obsession imparted upon me by my sweet cousin, Sherie Wells.  She taught me how to knit.  She and her mom/my cousin Norma came down one sunny day and sat with me at my kitchen table, chatting and showing me the basics.  After that very enjoyable visit, I couldn’t stop.  This fills so many needs for me, I can’t even begin to tell you.  With such a prodigious list of "can'ts" in my life, I can knit on even my worst days.  I can lean back in my recliner/couch with Downton Abbey to keep me company and work through something exceedingly simple, then see a finished product.  On a “better” day I can create a more complex project and in the end I have a gift to hand to a loved one.  I can actually accomplish something.  Who knew?

Well, let me back up.  My first project wasn’t just whipped out in an afternoon.  It took me 2 days.  To knit a wash cloth.  Seriously.  I kept making a mistake, dropping a stitch, leaving a hole, or losing where I was, so I would pull the WHOLE THING out, completely unravel, and start all over again.  I had to go back and watch YouTube videos to remind me of what to do.  I had to learn how to finish the project off from a YouTube video.  And still it wasn’t at all pretty.  But I made it through and learned a lot.  Here’s a picture.  Thanks in advance for NOT judging me...

It’s misshapen and full of holes, but I do actually use it.  When I finished I thought of scrapping it or unraveling it again, but wanted to keep it as a reminder of where I started.  And I smile as I use it to wipe down my kitchen counters. 

This whole experience of learning to knit is so representative of the past six months, six months in which my life has changed so very profoundly.  Six months ago today was the last day I worked in my lovely office at Wells Fargo.  I left that Friday afternoon not feeling well, but had no idea that day would be my last in my job that I loved ever so much.  In the intervening months I have tried to do life in so many ways, all of which had to be ripped out and restarted.  I tried to fit my self-decided recovery timeline into my life.  Unravel, start over.  I tried to decide ahead of time what my diagnosis and treatment would be.  Unravel, back to the drawing board.  I tried to schedule and control things.  Unravel, begin again.  I tried to make things in my world look like they did before.  Unravel, take three.  I tried to find any remedy to make myself feel like I used to.  Unravel, start again.   I tried to push myself physically like I used to, in hope that it would fix me.  Unravel, rest for two weeks, reboot.  

Six months later I look back on a hole-filled, misshapen new life, those flaws marking the days I struggled the most, deepest disappointments, days of grief, days of frustration with debilitating limitations, pushing back so hard and wanting things to be like they were, countless tears spilling over during the unraveling, mourning my losses, setting aside my pride in so many ways.  Looking back there has been a lot of “not pretty,” but I have learned so much.  Here at the end of it I am content.  I have found joy and peace in this new pace, this new phase.  It’s not what I would have chosen, but the blessings are great.  I am learning much in my slowed-down life.  Years and years have seen me on someone else’s time frame, able to push through and do whatever is necessary.  But I am learning that life’s rhythm can have a very different time frame.  I am learning to listen to my body, to my energy level, to what I truly can and can’t do.  

Do I feel any better?  Physically, no.  But in my heart and my head, definitely.  

Will I have to unravel and start again?  Absolutely.  But I will continue to learn every time I do.

As I knit projects for people, I pray over them.  As I watch God knit this new life, this new pace, this new way together for me, I sit in gratitude, trusting His pattern is better than any other.