I'm knitting a prayer shawl. The Butterfly Argyles have been put aside for the time being, and I won't be entering anything in the state fair this year. After much consideration, and waffling, I decided that the Argyles, while perfectly wonderful, are not perfectly wonderful enough to enter. So, that decision made, I need to get this prayer shawl done.
I have a friend. I've known him for years, we met in Sunday School (adult Sunday School, we haven't known each other that long! LOL) He's a very nice man, good father, I assume good husband. It's always been very clear that he loves his wife. They moved to the other side of the country (literally) several years ago, and we've kept in touch via email. We have similar senses of humor, we kind of look at the world the same (or close enough). We've had the same "crises of faith" and asked the same questions of each other. Deep discussions, lots of laughs. He's just a good friend.
Last week, he sent me an email titled "A short read" with a link to a blog. The blogger talks about the battle for his wife. The absolute struggle to keep cancer from taking her from him. I read about half the entries, and the tone was so familiar. There is no profile, no identifying anything. I replied to his email and asked, simply, Who wrote this, you? and waited for the reply.
Words cannot begin to describe how I hurt for this family. I'm stunned, disbelieving, nearly speechless at the horrific thing that has befallen these people. I feel helpless because there's almost 3000 miles between us - I'm not sure what I'd do if I was closer. Help with the kids, surely. Hold his hand? Listen to him weep, scream, yell? Of course. But I'm here, and they're there. So I do what I nearly always do, I knit.
The prayer shawl as a concept is not new, nor original. I'm knitting feverishly because, really, I don't know how long I (or she) have. I want something of comfort to send their way, mostly because I can't be there in person to offer whatever small comfort is in my power to offer. I feel useless, and stupid, and helpless - I'm sure in small measure to what they're feeling.
So, I knit. I'll send the shawl as soon as it's done, and, God willing, she'll be able to wrap up in it this fall, when it starts getting cold. And she'll remember what a horrible summer she had, and she'll be happy that the cool weather is here, and that she has years ahead to look forward to. That's what I pray as I knit.