The Hurt Yarn


When you’re busy knitting your life, you should remember that there are many different spools of yarn. And you really have to include them all. No matter how much they may be a bother. Or how much they may hurt. You can’t cut out certain ones or it may eventually cause the entire work of art to unravel. That’s you. Sometimes, we’re so busy trying to get some place else or be somebody different that we fail to see the beauty and the power that encompasses all of the different colors and textures that venture into our life.

My mom can knit beautifully, like no other person that I know. Pro status. She’s got mad knitting skills. She will talk to you, watch basketball games, and even play with your kids, all the while knitting the most gorgeous and difficult creation. Her relaxed hands move the needles flawlessly as she gently tugs on the yarn that may very well be strung across the room from a kid or dog playing with it. She’s not phased. She just keeps on knitting.

She once taught me how to knit when I was stuck in my dad’s borrowed leather chair by our front window. Modified bed rest. I couldn’t keep reading and watching TV all day long, going stir crazy waiting for two little boys to grow in my giant, nervous uterus. My mom would come over and teach me how to knit scarves and how to pearl. She also brought me delicious food. Probably because all I thought about and talked about was food. And more food. I could have been categorized as a tight knitter. A person wouldn’t watch me and feel pressed to learn the “relaxing art.” I made several imperfect scarves on my bedrest. Then, I delivered twins. The end. Of my amateur knitting career.

Watching my mom knit from the beginning stage of choosing her yarns and finding a pattern, to the “it’s coming along” stage to the gorgeous finished products helps me understand the process. It’s a powerful thought to envision that we were fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in our mother’s womb(Psalms 139:13-14) and that we continue this beautiful work of art by how we live our lives. We are all the same in some powerful ways. We all receive a first breath and a last breath.  We are all so unique though in how we use the breaths in between. What we do. Who we become. The many strands of yarn that define us, change us, and help us relate to one another and love each other differently. More deeply. All the changing patterns our lives follow or stray away from differentiate us from one another. How we weave the many different colors and textures of yarn into our lives makes us each different, beautiful, and unique. It’s quite fascinating to think that no two of us are exactly the same.

I have witnessed some of the most remarkable, influential and compassionate people who have learned the delicate art of weaving “the hurt yarn” into their lives. The yarn of this world that represents pain, hard times, loss, brokenness, unfairness. The scars, the unanswered questions, the feeling of not belonging. I believe that this yarn carries the power to strengthen, help, heal and teach others. And love others on a whole different level. If and only if we consciously use it, not try to camouflage it. Or tuck the hurt yarn away in some cabinet only to then wonder why we’re suddenly falling apart. It takes time, patience, even practice to figure out how to best incorporate the hurt yarn into our lives. It’s difficult. It takes people recognizing it. And gently helping hand it to you. Then, helping pick it back up. It can be tricky, slipping out of your hands, give you callouses kind of yarn.

The greatest hidden, yet liberating gift of the hurt yarn is it’s power to open your eyes to a beauty and appreciation in other creatures like you’ve never noticed before. Beauty that others may not recognize. Yet. There is a tremendous amount of beauty in pain, fragility, struggles, vulnerabilities, honesty, imperfections, weakness, and forgiveness. They all hold the ability to unite us, humanize us, and relate us to each other in a way that’s more powerful than blood. That’s the beauty in the hurt yarn. If we incorporate the hurt yarn into our lives, it doesn’t take away from us. It stabilizes us. It humbles us. And strangely enough, it delicately holds the power to make us stronger in the most unexpected, unpredictable ways.

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