Monday, June 1, 2015

The Frivolity of Knitting For Babies {A Post Not Really About Knitting}

Knitting for babies is frivolous thing.

The amount of time put into any object you knit eclipses the amount of time they will spend wearing it ten to one, at least. So, really, what's the point? Isn't it kind of a waste of time? Doesn't it make far more sense to knit something for yourself, or another adult, someone who doesn't fly through sizes (hopefully) at a rapid clip, rendering handknit clothing obsolete within weeks or months?

Well, it depends on what you think has worth.

I think about it, knitting up a pair of newborn socks in bed with a newborn right there to try them on as soon as I'm finished. Handknit socks for a newborn. Silly. I can buy a pack of socks for a fraction of the cost of sock yarn. Socks that I won't mind if one gets lost, which they will. Socks that will fit for a little while and then be tossed in the baby bin for whoever comes next in our extended family. Socks to which I have no emotional response or attachment. Just socks. That makes sense.

But if you know and love knitting, you know that the finished object and even the intended recipient of the item are only part of the story. There's something more at play here, and that something more has to do

It's the way of all work, really. Part of it is about completing the project at work, getting that green dot of completion, that check mark, that gold star. It's about serving dinner to your family, caring for them, doing what needs to be done. But work is more than just about the recipient, or the end game, or the finished object or clean kitchen. Work shapes and refines us. It's infused in the very essence of what work is. Any time you do something that requires attention, skill, talent, commitment, integrity - you come away bettered. Even if it's a struggle to get yourself there. Because within the struggle is the stronghold of self - sacrifice. And that's always where we become more the people we're meant to be.

Knitting for babies is frivolous in the way that cutting flowers for the kitchen table is a waste of time, or throwing on some lipgloss before your husband gets home doesn't really matter. These are little things of value only because they are done with and for love. I think that's how all work is meant to be, and maybe we learn to live our work that way a little more each day. Maybe that's really what refining is all about. As our excuses, selfishness, laziness and complaints are sloughed away a little at a time, we find we can work with and for love.

When you live that way, no job is too small, no gesture a waste. When you live that way, everything is elevated because it becomes something more.

It's the greatest commandment and our raison d'etre.


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