I’m learning to crochet. Is that dorky? I have a feeling what the hipsters do with yarn these days is knitting. But I’ve heard that takes two needles which is completely intimidating. So for now, it’s crochet.
The girls and I took a class at a local craft store, and after three hours we learned one stitch — if that’s even what you call it. We make rows over and over again in a line, turn, and make another line.
It’s too narrow for a blanket, too wide for a scarf, and it doesn’t matter anyway because I don’t know how to read a pattern or do anything, really. So far I’ve worked the yarn through Mr. Bean’s Holiday, one episode of American Pickers, and lots of conversation.
I want it to be relaxing, but so far I mainly work tense. I hear that shows up in the yarn. Of course it does.
Last night we had company for dinner and my son ran to get my square (trapezoid/circle/wonkiness) and show it off to our friend (who is a twenty-something guy so you can imagine how interested he was). Everything in me wanted to stop him, to apologize, to explain that I have zero idea what I’m doing and obviously this is nothing to write home about or bring into the kitchen.
But my son, he was proud of the way I’ve worked yarn into a pattern, even if that’s all it will ever be.
There aren’t many things I do in life that don’t have a measurable point.
Recently I took a walk through my neighborhood and had to fight to keep it agenda-free. It’s a discipline to walk without an agenda, to let yourself carry concerns with an open hand rather than trying to untangle them.
And this is precisely why I’m not quick to want to learn how to crochet for real. Because I know me. As soon as I do, that very minute, I’ll get all focused and wild-eyed and now I will make a scarf for everyone I know!
I like the idea of staying a beginner. I like moving my hands in a predictable rhythm to make nothing in particular except maybe some space for my soul to breathe.
I like sitting down and having my sloppy first draft be the second draft and also the final draft.
I like the absence of pressure, the complete lack of temptation to show off or get arrogant.
This week, as I imperfectly practice this new craft, I’m discovering the spiritual discipline hidden beneath the uneven rows of yarn.
Sometimes I need to engage in an activity for the single purpose of disengaging from productivity.
Is that a thing? I think it is, and it’s an important one.
My friend and fellow author Fil Anderson once said, “Sometimes it isn’t about what we do, but about what we need to undo.”
We talk a lot about all we need to do. And if you’ve watched the news or checked on Facebook within the last 2 minutes, you’ll see the needs are many, the pain is real, the suffering is great, and the brokenness is far-reaching.
There is without question a lot to do.
But there is also an invisible world that lives inside our bodies, the inner world of the soul. And this world won’t show up in your newsfeed, it won’t get a headline on the evening news, and it won’t push a notification to your phone.
This inner world needs our attention, but it doesn’t respond to programs, agendas, or hustle.
The soul responds to space, silence, and Jesus.
I’m discovering how Christ is with me in every ordinary moment, both the ones where I feel capable and the ones where I am out of my element, both in the visible world I can see and the invisible one that lives within me.
I know that’s true. It’s just that sometimes I need to actively do things I’m not good at in order to remember how desperately I need him. Sometimes I need to work quietly with my hands in order to settle my soul.
Is there anything you need to undo? Are there any simple practices that are helping you undo it?