Of socks and sands
It's a lovely afternoon here at our place and I am making peace with celery and almond butter with raisins because I've had a falling out with Little Debbie. Not my favorite, but not terrible either, so I am okay with this middle ground that will hopefully help my middle.
The laundry is caught up, the kids are almost done with school for the day and I just finished another pair of multi-colored socks.
Socks are my THING.
I would be considered a late-in-life knitter, though I like to think that I learned when I was good and ready. A sweet Pastor's wife bought me circular needles and peaches and cream yarn and sat beside me several times, trying - almost wishing for my fingers to do what needed to be done to make a washcloth.
I remember eeeking one out with more holes than were in the pattern, and thinking that I wanted so badly to know how to do this and enjoy it so that I could somehow morph into the kind compassionate soul she was.
I could not will myself to understand it. My brain was going twenty different directions at this time in my life. I was barely keeping my nose above water, or the diaper pile at that time and I couldn't fit one more thing in my life.
A few years later, a woman in my church offered to help me get back on needles one night after church. She brought HUGE needles that were purple and they set me on pins and needles wondering if I could indeed finally figure this thing out.
She patiently watched and prodded and laughed and slapped me on the back a few times to keep me from slipping into a serious face as I worked hard not to slip a stitch.
And then in some wonderful way my brain decided to latch on to this new information.
I was thrilled.
I became the best little washcloth maker you ever did see.
And I was content to buy heaps of peaches and cream yarn and stick with circulars and promote cleanliness next to godliness as I bestowed more washcloths than are necessary on friends and family members.
I even got my oldest girl AND boy making them as well.
The family that knits together stays together after all.
We were washing fiends in those days.
And then on a date with my sweetheart, we stumbled upon a yarn shop with real live old ladies in a circle, chatting while displaying their scarves, wraps and homemade socks. I was in awe of the wisdom in skill these women represented to me.
I made small talk while pretending to know a whole lot about nothing. I fiddled with needles, felt yarn as if to know what worsted weight meant, wondering it they needed me to come and bequeath my vast knowledge of cleansing cloths to them.
They did not.
Then I saw it. A sock class. My dear "believeth all things, hopeth all things" catch of a husband decided it was time for me to do something else. He signed me up lickety-split and I will never forget coming to that class with all of the fear of a sixth grade talent show.
We used little double-pointed needles which apparently we borrowed from South American natives' blow guns. How would they ever catch dinner without them, I wondered.
I made every face you can make and fell just short of biting my bottom lip clean off trying to make my fingers do what was being asked of them. It did seem suspicious that my teacher had to take yet another cigarette break when I needed her help.
I muscled through that first pair of socks that eventually shrunk to the size of finger puppets (word to the wise- don't dry wool friends. That must have come in another class), and were thrown away.
But I didn't need them. I had the technique down now and it was all downhill from here.
I thought of this first lesson as I finished off the toes on my double points and enjoyed every minute of the Kitchener stitch to bring all of my work to a close.
Or one would think.
Turning the sock inside-out, you will see several loose strands of yarn needing attention. And this is where the real fun begins.
In sock knitting, and in all knitting I gather, knots are not preferable.
Knots leave a hard lump where otherwise deliciously soft and cozy yarn would be.
So you weave the ends of yarn in.
Where you begin, where you switch to new yarn, and when you finish the toes, you weave the ends in.
There are really cool ways to do this using a tapestry needle and the whole purpose of this is to not be able to tell where you weaved the ends in. It should be so smooth, so hidden, so perfectly woven into purls and knits that a knot isn't even needed for support.
It's pretty cool to me, and it's my favorite thing.
Weaving, and stretching the sock and hiding my hold.
And today I thought about how the Lord weaves His life-giving words into our every day mundane moments.
I sat and thought about how much the Lord thinks about me.
About my loving the Kitchener stitch, my worries about schooling, my desire to love others well, my desire to love HIM well.
And I would, to anyone, look like the normal housewife and mother. I will be up and making something out of a package of chicken breasts in a bit for dinner and then settling-in for the night cleaning before bed and late night laughs with my husband.
And while I am winding yarn in this stitch and that stitch, the Lord is thinking about me.
Psalm 139:1-18 came to my mind while finishing up my socks:
"O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee."
That phrase in verse 18 still grabs my heart today: "If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand:"
More in number than the sand?! My mothering mind says, "This is impossible! Who would care about my socks and my dinner menu and how many times I have asked the kids to take what is theirs off of the stairs for Pete's sake!?"
My God would.
All of the sand in all of the seas cannot hold a candle to the number of times my Lord turns his thoughts to this simple Mid-Western housewife.
And even the end of the verse spoke volumes to me: "when I awake, I am still with thee."
How many times I've fallen into bed wondering if I took care of everything that needed attention, every dish that needed unloaded from the dishwasher, every pile of dirt that needed swept, every heart that needed my understanding and help, only to fear that I will wake under the gun and running to catch up come sun-up.
These words bring me such comfort! Not only does the Lord never sleep (Psalm 121:4) but He's already head-long into my tomorrows still with me on his mind.
Ahh. Can't you just slip deep down into that like a cozy chair with heaps of pillows?
You may be doing something you enjoy today, like closing a sock. You may be even enjoying a whole beautiful box of Little Debbies. (Please keep that under your hat if you don't want me to pay you a visit) You may be dealing with stress and little sleep and have no idea what's for dinner for your crew.
I am here to remind you that the Lord knows and cares. Even if you aren't thinking of him, he is thinking millions and trillions of precious thoughts about you and your everyday ordinary.
I'm grateful beyond measure that you would stop by and listen to my thoughts today friends, but I hope my thoughts just remind you of all the many wonderful ways the Lord is thinking upon you, His cherished child.
May His words be ever so woven into our hearts and minds, through every bump and stitch of our simple days that even when we do not feel so, they are holding us together.
Just a thought.