The Story of the Knitted Scarf

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I finished knitting a scarf today. Just in time for winter, you might say, but that wouldn’t be quite accurate. You see, I’ve been working on this particular blue scarf for well over a year! I think I began knitting it the summer of 2016!

     This is a huge accomplishment for me, and one that I wondered if or when I would ever knit the last stitch. I can’t believe it is done! Now, I have a new task ahead of me – to go out and buy a skein of yarn to begin another one.
     “What’s this all about?” you might be asking. “And why did it take you so long to knit a scarf? It can’t be that complicated or difficult, can it?”
      Here’s the deal.
      I have been a member of the Knit ‘n’ Pearls group at my church ever since it was created about seven years ago. I never claimed to be good at knitting, but I liked the women who formed the group and wanted to be a part of it. So, I bought a skein of yarn, a set of knitting needles, placed them into a little felt tote bag, and off I went to the new knitting group.
     Over the years, we have knitted baby caps for the local hospital, prayer shawls for shut-ins and people needing a little something comforting to wrap up in, and other items to give away or sell at the church’s Christmas bazaar. We also share patterns and ideas for projects at our meetings, along with prayer concerns and a devotional. We sit around the table relating bits of our lives and histories to one another, laughing a lot, and even crying at times.
     This particular group of women took me under their collective wing when I was going through a very dark and troubling period of my life a few years back, never judging me or berating me for my foolishness, but always lifting me up, supporting me, and praying for me. I will never be able to thank them enough or repay them for all that they did for me during that time. I love them dearly!
     I am the only member of this special group who isn’t retired. They all have more time to spend on their knitting than I do, and they have made some beautiful things – socks, sweaters, hats, blankets, scarves, and shawls. I am in absolute awe of their talent! Since I am still a working girl, it naturally takes me a lot longer to bring something to completion.
     Truth is, my knitting needles and yarn are primarily my prop, my admission ticket to the group. The ladies don’t care if I only knit a couple of rows each time we meet, or that I sit at the table, needles in hand but not doing anything with them, listening to their stories and adding a few of my own from time to time. They don’t care that I seldom finish anything, but bring the same tote bag to the group each week, clearly displaying that my unfinished scarf hasn’t left it since I put it away at the last meeting. They don’t care how slow I am. They are always happy to see me, and I am happy to be joining them at the round table where we sit each week. I love being part of this wonderful group.
     It’s taken a long time, but week by week, month by month, and row by row my scarf has grown longer and longer until today when I measured it by my height from end to end – the measuring stick I used to plot my progress – it was as long as I am tall.
     Today I finished the blue scarf I’ve been working on for what seems like forever. After binding it off, the ladies had me model it and took a photo to capture this momentous occasion, as my Great Accomplishment. They have been cheering me on for months as I ever so slowly knitted my way to this auspicious day.
     There is a lesson or two embedded in this tale of Jennie’s Knitting Project. I’m going to leave it up to my blog readers to discover for yourselves what it might be for you.
     As for me, the lesson is clear. It’s not necessarily what you make with your hands, or how long it takes to make it. What is important is who is sitting with you at the round table.
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I Wish I Could Make Music

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I can make noise, and occasionally I can hit the right notes on a piano or on my baritone ukelele, but I am not a musician. I wish I were. As a child, I endured six years of piano lessons and two years of violin lessons. I never mastered the piano and failed miserably at the violin. Then, in my 30s I had to learn to play a plastic recorder as one of the requirements to become an elementary school teacher. I passed the test, but did not consider myself proficient on this instrument. However, as a teenager I became a pretty mean ukulele strummer at summer camp. But I was not a particularly good singer; hence, the idea of becoming a professional musician never even crossed my mind.

I recently attended a local jazz concert while visiting my cousin in North Carolina. The jazz group consisted of a pianist, a flutist, a bass player, and a drummer. It was wonderful. While the music washed over me and through me, I found myself focused on the hands and fingers of the musicians. How I wished I could play an instrument – any kind of instrument – with the passion and love that clearly radiated from their faces and the movement of their arms, hands, and bodies. Memories of all of the musical instruments I attempted to learn how to play in my past made me more keenly aware of the talent and gifts of this musical group.

As a teenager I loved to sing, and even tried out for a part in the musical “Oklahoma!” at my high school. I didn’t get the part. I was told my voice wasn’t strong enough and was too breathy. I sang in the chorus, but struggled through it. I was a second soprano and alto (never could hit those high notes), and found it difficult to find my part unless there were strong vocalists on either side of me singing into my ears. Later, I sang in various church choirs, but again, I had to be positioned near someone I could follow and drown out the melody in order to sing the harmony. I loved singing, but I simply didn’t have the gift, even though I had the desire to sing.

Now the only way I make music is to turn on Pandora on my computer or satellite radio in my car and listen. I especially appreciate listening to the musicians who are not only performers, but also composers. To be able to write a song, then figure out the music to go along with the words, and finally perform it while playing the piano or the guitar is something worthy of my deepest admiration. How I wish I could do it!

I sing along sometimes, especially if it’s an old favorite whose words come to me easily. And there are a few songs that I can actually pick up the harmony and pretend that I am a real musician while driving down the highway.

Music is the love song of the universe. I can’t imagine a world without it.

Someone once asked me if I believed in God. I answered that, yes, I do believe. This was followed by the follow-up question, why? My simple answer was:

Because I believe in music.