September 2011


Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to knit.  I’ve been knitting since I was a teenager having learned at the hand of my Grandma Norman, inspired by my cousins Stephanie and Beth and mentored along by a woman at church.

One of the things that I love about knitting is that it all starts out the same: with a ball of yarn and a set of needles. From here, anything is possible.  Mittens. Scarves. Hats. Toys. Sweaters. Socks. The possibilities are endless.

To begin I choose my pattern, select my wool and needles and begin to cast on stitches.  And then, one by one, stitch by stitch, row on row a piece of knitted fabric starts to form. Something from nothing. Created by my own hands. Slowly, thoughtfully, with purpose.

The Bible, in Psalm 139:13 says For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I’ve been thinking about this verse a lot over the last few weeks.  That God knit me together, knit you together. And just as I carefully choose each pattern and wool, God carefully put thought into who you and I are, who we would become. He chose the colour of my eyes, the freckles on my face, the number of hairs on my head. No one is just like me. No one is just like you.  We are each one of a kind.  A carefully crafted, hand knit human being. Created in the image of God himself.

Sometimes when I knit I notice a mistake that I’ve made.  If I catch it soon enough I can go back, stitch by stitch and make the correction. Knitters sometimes call this “tinK-ing” since we’re Knitting backwards or unKnitting. This is an easy way to fix a mistake and takes just a few minutes.

Other times I notice a mistake from many rows below that has gone unnoticed. This is trickier to fix and requires a bit more patience and skill.  I isolate the stitch and tear back that one stitch many rows below to the mistake, correct the stitch and slowly, deliberately, carefully use a crochet hook to reknit the stitches, one by one, row by row.  This is a slow process but if done correctly it can save a lot time.

Some mistakes are just too big to fix by going back a few stitches or by isolating just one stitch.  Sometimes, after much consideration and after exploring the other options, I will find that the best solution is to pull the needles out of the knitted fabric and unravel the wool back to the mistake.  Stitch by stitch, row by row are unraveled leaving a heap of wool where there once was a knitted fabric. Once the mistake has been ripped out I will carefully put the “live stitches” back onto the needles and begin knitting again.  Sometimes by unraveling my work by pulling the needles out I have lost hours of time.

Over the past few weeks I have prayed with friends who are in the hospital or facing physical challenges, reminding them that it was God who knit them together in the womb and who continues to knit them together today. That carefully, with the precision of a Master Craftsman, he knits them back together. Stitch by stitch. Row by row. As a knitter, this is a powerful image to me as I think about my own health challenges, those behind me and those ahead of me.  That God is the One who created me.  He picked out the pattern of me and called me by name. Stitch by stitch. Row by row.

I also think that God takes the same care with our thoughts and actions, our behaviour and our character. Sometimes we are carefully “tinKed”, given a gentle reminder that something in our lives needs to be changed. Sometimes we need to be unraveled in order to make a change.  But the end result is the same: we are changed.

I love to admire my knitting projects when they are finished.  I show them to my family and friends.  I take pictures and post them online. I’m proud of my work, the skill involved, the challenge that was accomplished.

I believe that God does the same with us. He looks at us with a smile. He admires us. He sees where we’ve been and who we are becoming. And with joy continues stitching us together.

Stitch by stitch. Row by row.

H.

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Dear Family and Friends,

It’s been a while since my last post and truly, there wasn’t much to report.  The treatment that I was on had good results and we continue to wait over the next few months to see what types of lasting effects it will have produced. I have had a few CT scans to begin to monitor what the treatment has already started to do and many of the nodules have been reduced and continue to shrink.  There is still that one nodule that continues to baffle each of my doctors (the oncology team, infectious disease and lung doctors).  Yesterday when I saw Dr. Kurvella he reminded me that I have always been in the habit of keeping them on their toes and this thing in my lungs proves no different.  He has suggested that we consider an open lung biopsy in order to get definitive results about what it is they are dealing with.  In the next few days he will confer with the other doctors to see if they agree with this plan.  Dr. K reminded me that without knowing with absolute certainty what this thing is that they are just guessing about how to treat me.  He also said that he was pretty sure that I would want him to suggest treatment options based on fact rather than good guesses.  With tears in my eyes and a smile on my face I said that my heart/emotions would rather that he make good guesses but my mind/thoughts think it would be better to have decisions be made based on certainty.

I must admit this threw me for a bit of a loop.  I had been feeling really good after the treatment at the beginning of the summer.  In fact, I was talking with someone just after my treatments and I surprised myself when he asked “how are you doing these days?” and my answer, without thinking was “GREAT!”  I actually had to take a step back because I don’t remember the last time I could answer that way and have it be true.

Also, I have picked up another infection.  I have a persistant cough from deep in my lungs.  I’m pretty tired and yesterday I was fighting a pretty high fever.

I’m not sure what else to say.  Today I’m doing pretty okay with the news of the possibility of the biopsy.  I go back to the doctors on September 19th and we’ll put together an action plan.

School started this week and I had planned a different beginning to the school year than the one that we are facing as a family.  At the same time, I am convinced of these truths now, more than ever… That God is good. He has a plan for my life.  He loves me, deeply.  He sees me.  He hears me.

With that,

Heather