The last time I wrote it was about grieving and lamenting loss, particularly loss because of COVID-19. Well here we are, three months later, and most things are still closed or cancelled. So because of COVID-19, I have too much time on my hands this summer. So what have I been doing during this time at home? A lot of knitting. I have 2 new summer sweaters, a shawl for me, and a birthday shawl for my mother-in-law. Currently on needles in this house are 2 more summer sweaters, a pair of socks, a neck scarf, and an intricate lace shawl called Life Cycle. The shawl has received most of my attention lately. Due to it’s intricacy, I have been using what are called lifelines. Every few rows or at a significant change in the pattern, I take a long piece of dental floss and run it through the stitches on my needle. In something as intricate as this shawl, the lifeline is necessary to keep your sanity. It’s there so that if you make a mistake in the next few rows, you can drop your stitches back to that dental floss and pick back up again without losing days of work. I have been thankful at least a dozen times just this week for my lifelines.
Another thing I’ve been doing the last few weeks is answering some questions about what I believe. And as I was knitting yesterday, I realized that the answers to those questions are like my life’s lifeline. What do I mean by that? Let me use an example: what do I believe about God? One thing I believe about God is that He created the world and everything in it. He created all of the crazy animals. He created all of the plants, and all of the fish. I believe he created all of that because He wanted to. Because He is a creative God and it is in His nature to create. Even things that some people think are ugly.
God created all people too. He designed each and every one of us. And because of His stamp on our lives, we all have value. Our lives matter. Not in an all lives matter type of way. (Which by the way is a really annoying response to black lives matter. If you say that quit it. It may be true, but it isn’t the point.) But each individual life has value.
And how is the belief that God created and we have value a lifeline? When I see lives being torn down, and our country being torn apart, I can go back to the basic belief. God created all. He loves all. He died for all. And because He did that, we should care about all. He does. So we should. So when I see my African-American friends struggling and grieving, I can stand with them. I mourn with them. I want to see the change that allows their God-given value, to be seen and valued by others. I want them to have a seat at the table. Because God created us all. He loves us all. He died for us all. And each life is important.
Lifelines can be difficult to put into a row of knitting (especially a 700 stitch one). And it is tedious to start building on the row that has a lifeline in it. I dislike that process. And for that reason, I don’t use them in most things I knit. But something intricate like Life Cycle needs them regularly. And they same is true for placing lifelines in our lives.
Our lives are intricate. It may be difficult and tedious to figure out what your lifelines are. You may struggle to place them in your life. You may miss some stitches and have to go back and do it again. You may need to reinforce a lifeline that breaks or falls out of some spots. But there is value in knowing what your lifelines are. What do you believe? And how do your beliefs display themselves in your words and your actions? In real life and in social media.
A life well-lived is beautiful. And some day, my shawl will be finished and blocked and I’ll be able to show you the beauty that the lifelines allowed me to create. But just as knitting it takes time and work, so does making that well-lived life. I would encourage you to take the time and do the work to live it well. We do have lots of free time this summer apparently. Maybe we should be grateful for our COVID summer? Hmmm.