Nice ice, baby

When you woke this morning, did you look outside to find a sheen of ice crystals covering everything, like I did? I lay in bed, first trying unsuccessfully to retrieve the quickly fading remnants of an important dream, and then running over a mental list of things to do, so by the time I rolled out from under the covers and opened the curtains I was already feeling a little stressed. The icy frost and the absence of our car told me two things: one, that Scott had had a warm safe drive to work and two, I will have another lovely day at home to crochet and finish Christmas decorating. Shopping will have to wait.

Yesterday I crocheted a small cowl and almost an entire balaclava; that was only a few hours’ of work, so Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll easily meet my goal of finishing cowls/scarves/balaclavas for everyone on my list before Christmas. When Susan was here last week she mentioned the yarn shop in Sandy, which I’d seen the sign for but had never paid attention to because I was immersed in other non-yarn-related projects. Mom and I popped in the other day and it is a wonderful shop; I’m so excited that it’s only a wink and a skip from my house. At the time I picked up only enough yarn for one balaclava, which I finished, so I visited the shop again two days ago for more yarn–yarn yarn yarn, I’m in heaven. It’s slightly more expensive than it is at Michaels, where I would usually go, but it’s well worth it for the quality, which is superb by comparison. Jess wanted a wool balaclava to repel the rain and I found gorgeous soft wool there, many many kinds, from relatively inexpensive to lots of dollars per skein; there’s even amazingly soft sherpa wool in a variety of deep rich colors, sigh. They also hold classes so when I’m ready I may take one on knitting, to broaden my horizons. Besides all that, it’s here in town and I’d rather give my money to small local businesses than big corporations.

An example of the balaclava cowl I'm making, with minor alterations like a drawstring around the face

The busyness of the past few weeks–the bustle of holiday preparation and more social interaction than I’ve had in ages–has been really fun; I’ve enjoyed it all. But it’s also kept me skimming along the surface of my life. As long as things are going well with no glitches, the surface is a welcoming glittery place to spend my time. It feels like enough sometimes, but it’s interesting–when I’m skimming along I tend to unwittingly get caught in eddies of negative thought. Anger and sadness and fear and worry swirl around me and take swipes at my heart. Most of the time I can bat them away, but sometimes they grab hold for a few minutes (or an hour… or a day) and I listen to what they’re whispering and end up feeling, I don’t know, squidgy. Just under a pall of negativity. When I’m surface-skimming and caught in negative thought, I chase activities to take my mind off the pain– turn on the TV, fire up the computer, try to read, go shopping, whatever. But worse (for me), I begin to believe that what I see with my eyes is all there is. I lose my wonder, my sense of magic, my faith in God and the spirit realm.

I think it’s funny when people with faith in God criticize those without it, thinking it impossible for them to be genuinely happy, because it’s not true. It’s completely possible to hum along just fine without faith. I did it for several years and could easily do it again; in fact, to my surprise, it seems to be my natural inclination. Here’s the thing: if there is a loving omniscient creator God, then why in the world would we think he/she is reliant on our belief in him/her? No, if there is a God like that, then we’re in good warm hands whatever we believe, and in fact, we’re free to explore anything we like, to go on wild adventures of thought and experience, to run after the heights and depths and breadth of all that’s available, without fear of abandonment or retribution. We’re in a wholly safe place, each one of us. We can believe or not, it’s all the same. If the above is true, it all comes out in the wash.

So I have absolutely no criticism of anybody who doesn’t believe in or explore God, none at all. We each have our path and I totally understand. But I’m at a place in my life, in my own unique experience, where it’s become important again. At first I returned to faith in God in order to assuage intense emotional suffering, but now it’s because I don’t feel at home without it; without it I see myself skipping over the surface of my life, yanked around by negative emotions, vaguely unfulfilled. I can go for a long time without realizing this, especially if I don’t seek out reminders from spiritual books or meditative processes or practices. If I stayed busy I might never have to look at it, could live out the remainder of my days averting my eyes and swerving out of its way, feeling vaguely squidgy; lots of people do. I could avoid silence and space, the doors to awareness. But I suspect that the inevitability of loss, failure, rejection, sickness, hardship of any and all kinds, and finally, confrontation with death, would force the issue eventually–as it already has a few times. I’d rather become familiar with my shadows and cobwebby nooks and crannies before that stuff happens so that I’m neither tempted to close off my emotions in certain areas nor thrown completely out of my depth. If I’m drowning I want to have already memorized the location of the nearest bobbing lifebuoy and the emergency number for the Coast Guard.

That’s just me. As I said–this is my experience; I don’t know if it’s true for everyone else. It’s important you know that. I think you’re golden no matter what you believe or don’t; I’m learning to appreciate each diverse perspective that’s brought to the table, even when it veers wildly from mine. What a spicy feast! If we could all see that, we’d be able to eat together in peace. Wouldn’t that be a trip?

All right, time to get back to the tasks at hand. Breakfast first, then I’ll tackle the nativity scene and lighted garland for the living room dresser. After that, more crocheting! It’s a beautiful slickery day and I hope you’re enjoying yours, too. Love to you all. xo

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6 Comments

Filed under Beloveds, Cold places, Creative, Fambly, Friends, Hope, Love

6 responses to “Nice ice, baby

  1. Frokaloke

    You know, Messaloopy, I really must stop checking for new posts right before I want to get to sleep!
    But again, I am glad I did. All I can say is, amen sistah! I too cannot escape the fact that am compelled to have faith in God. Maybe the ways I see and understand God are changing… and sometimes that makes me stagger… but always I fall back into his arms. Hurray for that! And I too am so positive that God is not phased at all by anyone’s searching or explorations or even denials of him. I am fascinated by watching others beliefs and disbeliefs!
    Squidgy— I love that word! Unfortunately, that is what wool does to my skin… makes it break out all weepy and sore… But I gotta say… that cowl is sooo lovely! What an awesome idea, and so great that you can crochet like that!
    Thanks again for taking the time to write this. It does my heart good to see that it is not alone in the vast and rocky sea of life. Well… I guess we are never truly alone anyways. But nice to find you nearby!
    Love and Peace!

    • Hello, fellow bobber (you know, in the vast and rocky sea of life… never mind :). I love how each person has his or her own belief or disbelief in God and can, as far as I hope, be perfectly safe in it. That’s the ideal we want from each other, right? Perfectly safe love? We don’t always get it (or give it) but it’s something to move toward every minute of our lives. At least it’s better than not even trying. Though not even trying can be part of our journey, too. Perfectly safe, that’s what we are! It’s awesome.

      Wool is scratchy for me as well, but Jess requested it because he plans to wear his balaclava when he’s out in the wilds, and in Oregon that generally means WET. Actually, this particular wool is pretty soft, though not the softest available. I think the sherpa wool was something like $20 per skein and as it takes almost three skeins, that’s a leeetle steep for me, though I might splurge someday. (Shh, but I’m working on Ben’s now… it’s not wool. :)

      Sleep tight and love you, friend! xo

  2. Frokaloke

    sheesh— I wrote a lovely response to your response… but lost it! Something about the value of doubt…. and Ben’s mom telling me to thank you for being so kind to him.

    • Well, pooh, but since nothing is ever lost I’m sure we’ll end up discussing your lovely response at other times, in other ways, and yes! I attest to the value of doubt; it shakes our weeny little minds out of apathy! Fro, we’re happy to include Ben in our family for as long as he’s here, and of course even longer than that. There’s no distance to love, right? This is something we’ve come to know well. xo

  3. It is frost and icy here on the odd morning, but no snow so far, so yay! We aren’t made for snow here in Ireland, we get far too little of it to make sense to prepare for it, so the whole country comes to a standstill when we do.

    Love the cowls. See, cowls, not owls :)

    • Sometimes standstills are fun, though! I think we could use more standstills. :) Isn’t that cowl pretty? I’m almost done with all of them, to my shock and delight. Have you knitted since finishing your rabbit?

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