Fiber Arts Friday – Stewing and Knitting
It’s a little embarrassing to see that the last post on this blog was in late May. If I could claim that life has been a non-stop whirlwind of activity, I’d have an excuse for not writing. While there have been busy moments, it has not been non-stop. There is a writing project stewing in my brain that I need to start tackling, but right now I’m still wondering if I have all the ingredients to make the stew happen. What else does it need? A pinch of this? A dash of that? Another idea or theme or motif from somewhere to ratchet up the interest level? Ok, rather than get to writing, I’ll just read this one more thing. And this one. And then this one.
I’ve always liked the research phase better than the writing phase of anything. I used to say it was because I was a procrastinator, and, while that’s true, it’s also because I couldn’t stop trying to find new things that might just push my idea from okay to amazing. This shouldn’t surprise me. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator says I’m an ENFP; one of my StrengthsFinder strengths that has shown up both times I’ve taken it is Input (always collecting interesting things/ideas); my Co-Active® Leadership type is Eccentric; and I’m a Scanner, not a Diver. Eventually, though, there needs to be focus. I can’t keep all this brilliance to myself, right?
Stories from the world call to me, too. I’m deeply interested in the political climate of the country and the elections, so keeping up on those feels important. The Olympics always intrigue and move me, and I found a way to circumvent NBC’s monopoly and watch them on the BBC, which actually showed athletes from countries other than the USA, if you can imagine that. They were a welcome oasis in the midst of all the violence in the news.
There has been so much violence lately. Big violence. Large-scale violence. Hate-filled violence. The movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The Sikh Temple in Oak Brook, Wisconsin. Shootings near Texas A&M. The Empire State Building today. There are more.
And that doesn’t even touch the violence we live with on a daily basis with war in Afghanistan, domestic violence, rape, bullying, gay-bashing, and so many more violent expressions. It’s easy to look at all that and spiral into despair and hopelessness. Can we change? Will we change? What will it take?
I know the answer is not as simple as “it will take knitting.” Heaven only knows, I wish it were. Some of my fellow church members in the United Church of Christ have a vision, though. I’ve written about The Scarf Project before on previous Fiber Arts Friday posts, and I’ll probably do so again. It’s why I’m still knitting scarves out of Red Heart yarn in this bright rainbow colorway, even though I really don’t like the yarn or the color. I’ve made two so far, and I’m on my third. I have one more skein of yarn left; one more scarf. We hope to have 3000 of them so that the delegates and visitors to our General Synod meeting in Long Beach, California next summer can share and wear them to draw attention to the hugely destructive personal and societal force that violence of any kind always is.
We accept violence too easily. We pour out our shock and outrage over the obvious acts, while turning our jaded eyes and calloused hearts to smaller violent occurrences in the speech or actions of others. I confess that I watch television shows and movies that are replete with explosions, gunfire, and dead bodies. Sure, I cheer for the good guys and I even experience some kind of catharsis when they solve the problem of the bad guys’ violent acts with violence of their own.
I also, usually against my better judgment, read comments on articles online. People very often say vile things under the cloak of anonymity. It’s a kind of bullying toward a target they don’t even know. It is a violent act, and it is accepted and built-upon by many others.
I know there has to be a different way to be. I know there are other perspectives to find. I’m a coach — finding new perspectives is one of my stocks-in-trade! That’s part of the stew I’m making as I stare out the window, read another article or book, take Tiki to the dog park, or knit a rainbow-colored scarf to help someone else begin to become aware of a new angle, a new approach, and new way to recognize the violence all around us and begin to find a way to stand for transformation and hope, for justice and peace.