Sunday, February 12, 2012

Peace, Love & Understanding

I have a dear friend who is struggling right now.  Not to go into too much detail, she is withdrawing from some prescription medications under Dr. supervision and dealing with the associated side-effects of doing so, all the while dealing with some other deeply personal relationship issues.  Bless her, she has a LOT on her plate right now.  Wisely, she is seeking solace in knitting.  She is a very accomplished knitter, spinner, dyer, so I was shocked when she asked me to tutor her on a couple projects.  I was happy to do so, but honestly very confused as to how I was going to be able to help her, knowing her skill set vs. mine.  When the opportunity finally arose, I met with her, and we reviewed her proposed projects.  She'd chosen projects that were both beautiful and not necessarily difficult (although one pattern was in desperate need of a tech editor, but I digress.)  Then I saw the disconnect.  Prescription medications can have really serious side-effects that aren't necessarily measurable or tangible.  They can affect comprehension and memory.  They can affect patience, endurance and muscle memory.  They can give you the shakes and disturb your ability to judge grip and tension.  They can torture a skilled knitter.

I don't believe she is alone in these experiences.  In fact, it got me to thinking about older knitters, and knitters of other impairments.  I often encounter knitters in these categories in my knitting classes.  I've worked with autistic, attention deficit, and short-term memory impaired knitters, all who kindly and wisely made me aware of their specialized learning considerations so that I could best assist them.  I've worked with knitters that were returning to knitting from years of absence.  The greatest constant that I've worked with is frustrated knitters - regardless of whether it was because they remembered being good at it, or simply understood the concept but couldn't make the sticks and string agree.

My heart goes out to the frustrated.  I fear frustration in my years to come be it from some physical or mental impairment.  But from fear, I will not be paralyzed.  Instead, I pay it forward and meet it with Peace, Love and Understanding.  For Valentine's Day this year, I'd like to encourage everyone to help another knitter face one of their frustrations.  Blatantly offer, tell them this is your chosen goal if you wish, sit, spend time and provide them with Peace, Love and Understanding, and if in the end it just isn't getting there, hug each other and celebrate what is accomplished, remembered and the time you spent working together.  In the end, that means so much more than what you did with a bit of string and a couple sticks.