The baby blanket I was knitting was going well. The knits were where they were supposed to be, and the purls were in their proper place. Things were nicely, and I thought, “I’ll get this thing done in no time,” and then disaster struck. I got a little too comfortable with a simple pattern that I was doing, and all of a sudden, I had a mess, or what I consider to be an error. It only takes one stitch put in the wrong place to really mess up a pattern; it seems to stick out like a white rabbit amid a crowd of black cats.
One thing is for sure, none of us goes through life without somehow messing up the pattern, whether a craft item or something else, leaving a distinct error either visible or invisible. It’s frustrating, but it happens to all of us. Sometimes we get a little too comfortable with the way things are going, and, in turn, we make a mistake and things get out of whack. Sometimes the error can be erased or unraveled, and the correct configuration put in place, but sometimes, that error is just plain there for good.
I know for sure that God watches my errors and mistakes, and very probably clucks God’s tongue at how I could mess up something so badly. So I purled four stitches instead of three, or perhaps I did five instead of four. Whichever it is, it throws off everything. God notices those errors a lot sooner than I do and it all comes down to whether I am willing to rip out however many rows or rub out however many mistakes I’ve made in my work to redo it. The thing is, though, that God loves me anyway, and sympathizes with when I get frustrated at making the same error over and over again, no matter how careful I try to be. The tendency to make mistakes does not make me any less lovable to God, and thank goodness for that.
I know how frustrated I get when I make a mistake, whether it’s in writing, knitting, or just about anything else. I know that in some cultures, it’s customary for an error to be made somewhere in the product to show that a person made it and not merely a machine. I love that concept, but in my own work, it’s hard for me to make a mistake I can see and not fix it. It may not be visibly apparent to someone else looking at it for the first time, but I have to live with knowing that there are flaws in my work, no matter how hard I try to get them out.
I’m glad God loves me, even if I’m an inattentive knitter sometimes. I’m happy that I’m old enough to realize that God loves me no matter what, even if I make mistakes and grieve God by making those mistakes. But by being willing to try and fix them, or ask forgiveness for them, shows God that I understand what is expected of me and acknowledging my humanness. I have come to realize this more and more as I grow older, and it’s more and more comfort each passing day. So what if I have to pull out some stitches, I can always put them back in and do it correctly. If I make a mistake in my life, I may not be able to pull it out and correct it, but I can do my best to make it right, whether it’s rubbing out a bad sum or a wrong word, or expressing regret to someone I’ve harmed. It gets less stressful each time I do it. I also find it’s a great deal easier to take responsibility, and then give it to God and let God take it from there.
So now I will go back to my knitting. I only have about a foot left to go, and I will try to be careful not to have to rip whole rows out again and again because I didn’t pay attention. I may be doing this baby blanket as a gift for someone, but I’m also offering God’s love in it, the love comes from God who forgives all my mistakes and loves me in spite of them.
Linda Ryan is a co-mentor for an Education for Ministry group, an avid reader, lover of Baroque and Renaissance music, and retired. She keeps the blog Jericho’s Daughter. She is also estate manager and administrative assistant for Dominic, Phoebe, and Gandhi.