What I Did on My Summer Vacation; or, Taking Things Apart

A couple weeks ago I took on a spur-of-the-moment, purely experimental knitting project. I’d heard that inside every Major League Baseball is a couple hundred yards of knittable yarn. As a fan of both baseball and yarn, I had to see for myself.

I dove into the process of unpicking the ball’s red stitching, unwinding the sticky wool, washing it repeatedly, and knitting it up into a (very cool, if I do say so myself) hat. I didn’t have go deep before I began to notice the parallels with my life. Or maybe with Life, in general.

We take things apart.

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of this lately. It feels like crap, quite frankly. Unlike dismantling a baseball—which I could Google in advance and know what to expect, know there was something promising and likely useful inside—my own dismantling feels less optimistic.

My hopes for our nation, my expectations of the church, my experience of my own call (even, if I’m honest, my own faith), my role in my family, my expression of the gifts I’ve been given… I feel like I’m ripping out the seams of all of these. And just hoping there’s something useful inside. Something worth recovering.

We take out all the stuff.

The only way to find out is to unwind it all, then figure out how to deal with it. See what’s salvageable, what’s worth the time, the effort, the washwater. See how it transforms when it’s released. Let it bloom. And throw the rest away.

We make it into something new.

I believe in Something(s) New. The evidence of things not (yet) seen… even of things that may never be seen, things that still might have to be ripped out, unraveled, and remade again and again. If that’s not a Knitter’s Creed, I don’t know what is.

Knitting is slow fashion, and dismantling and remaking ourselves is slow person-ing. The work of a lifetime—not just a summer. But as this one summer ends and we turn toward the next season of the year and of life, I’m trying to be curious about what might come. I can’t always muster hope, but I can almost always summon up curiosity.

I’m curious what there might be room for, once I rinse off the residue and let myself bloom. Curious whether some of the things I once held most dear will ever come back. Curious to see if instead of returning they are transformed into something(s) surprising, something(s) new.

I’m especially (finally) curious what I want to do, what I most deeply care about… instead of what I should. I’m curious if, and how, I will be transformed. If there’s some unexpected part of me that may yet be of use.

So now: play ball. And knit on.

For our family, this coming school year feels like starting a whole new life. Since the last time my kids were in school in person, 18 months ago, one has changed from a child to a teen, the other from a young teen to a young man. The three of us have spent more time together than we have since they were preschoolers, and at the same time we’ve morphed into a stage where they need me less than ever. We’ve lived here almost a year but are more disconnected in this place than we have been anywhere, ever.

In less than three weeks they’ll go back to school in this new-but-not-new place, and our life will shift in ways that will set us all on new paths. The beginning of a new season… maybe even a whole new game.

Later this month I’ll be back to share a new plan for the blog, and my intentions for what’s ahead in this new life—what I’m listening for, where my curiosity is leading. Because what else can we do, but play ball, and knit on?


One thought on “What I Did on My Summer Vacation; or, Taking Things Apart

  1. Oh, I love this one!! I, too, feel like I’m trying to negotiate and figure out what I’m REALLY supposed to be doing, personally and biz-wise. And what, if anything, I’m supposed to be moving toward and letting go of. It’s a slippery slope! And I still marvel at the baseball yarn and hat! It’s the coolest!!


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