One of the smartest things I did when I moved to town was join the knitting/crocheting group that meets at the local public library on Thursday evenings. The Knotty Knitters is a group of women, although men are welcome, from diverse backgrounds, of various faiths, living in different towns in the area, with different lifestyles and family configurations. We skew toward being over 60, with a few notable exceptions; the main thing we have in common is that we like using sticks and string to create fabric art, aka knitting or crocheting, although a couple of us have veered off into cross-stitching recently.
Since the Covid pandemic spread its tentacles across the globe, we have been meeting over Zoom. We laugh, struggle with remembering to “unmute”, share stories and give advice based on knowledge gained from our vocations and avocations, our jobs and hobbies, to help each other deal with the hands we have been dealt.
So the group was able to laugh and commiserate with me when I realized that I had totally overlooked a small bunch of leaves on the Yellow Roses pattern in my stitching. I could finish the project them, but it wouldn’t look as good without those leaves. With the group’s support and sympathy, I sighed, took a deep breath, and committed myself to do what needed to be done, even if it means that it adds an extra week of stitching to finish the project.
Our conversation turned to Thanksgiving several times during our Zoom meeting. It turns out most of the Knotty Knitters will be having dinner, without their usual family gatherings, because they are in one of the high-risk categories for a corona virus infection to be fatal. So some will eat at tables that will have fewer place settings, and instead of cooking a whole turkey will cook a turkey breast or a turkey potpie. They are making the brave choice to take care of themselves so that they can continue to be of use to God, their friends and their families, and can continue to live.
But not everybody understands them or their choice, or even my choice to self-isolate while I wait for my test results. Why not risk being infected in order to be with family? Because death from Covid is a real possibility. And nobody ever knows for sure whether he or she is infected at any given time because you can’t see the virus as it transfer to your face or hands and then into your systems. If I test negative tomorrow at the express medical office, then that doesn’t rule out that I could get infected the day after tomorrow. Nothing’s guaranteed. None of us are in bubble wrap.
I made the audacious choice 5 years ago to make friends, to have a life outside my job. So I have friends. The Jesus Fan Club, a group of clergy who meet for Bible study and fellowship, and the Knotty Knitters, As self-care, I invested time and energy in making friends.
I celebrate the power of choice, and the audacity of self-care. I hope those who are choosing to spend careful time with their families will have safe days, and I give thanks for those who are going to have a slightly, lonelier Thanksgiving Day in order to make more days possible for themselves and those they love.
We decided, because we are smart cookies in the Knotty Knitters, that since most of us are either earlier in the day or in a simplified way, we are going to meet as usual on Zoom on Thanksgiving. That will be another audacious act of self-care on our part: spending time on Thanksgiving with our friends. Which makes sense, because I am so very thankful for my friends, the Knotty Knitters!
May you too make the audacious choice to take care of yourself so that you will have more days to love and be loved! May you have the courage to be a friend!
Grace and peace to you!