Some part of being a designer comes from what the heart loves– crafted into form by the mind and brain.
So what happens when the heart feels bruised or hurt?
A couple months ago a woman died…a woman whom I respect, admire, and am continually inspired by. It was unexpected. She was so so young, with so much ahead of her…and with such a full life. How could this happen, we all silently cried? Why?! we asked each other, our faces strained, our hearts fearful. Why does her sweet family have to go through this? How will the world go on without her brightness?
Everyone who knew her, aches with the shock and sorrow of it, all frozen in January.
I had many useful things to do for work that week, for post-Holiday life in my business, such as finishing projects for clients that I was very excited about…
but in the days following the hearing about our friend’s death, I got out yarn, and a baby sized round needle, and I knitted. Just sat with loved ones and knitted… 2 small hats and a pair of booties for a new Life that will be revealed to us in May, and for a little girl I know. And I wondered why I was knitting. Why just then, weren’t there other things to be done?
A Cousin wrote a poem about women grieving…about how we gather branches and bright winter berries, how we cover unspeakable grief with layers of healing snow and tears, and hope that a new Spring of life will grow under those layers. She spoke of creating blankets for babies, and bringing meals for people, to support, to help with the healing process.
Another friend wrote about wishing she could have held and protected this woman as she protects the children in her preschool.
I watched my loved ones as they heard, braced themselves, and faced the telling of it to their children, weaving hugs and words around them into strong walls against their fears.
And suddenly it made sense:
Why I was so drawn to knitting tiny hats: I just needed to sit with others in silence, or laughter, or tears, my hands looping and looping a single thread in solidarity with my ancestors; with myriads of other women who have made protective layers. I needed to make something Norwegian, something ancient, and warm, and above all, something to protect a Little One. I needed to draw each loop carefully through the row before it, creating patterns as I went, following an idea, but growing it organically to create pieces of Hope for future Life yet to be born:
It was to honour this woman’s bright, stellar ability to Love the world around her…her fierce warrior fight to protect the Innocent, her encouragement of all around her to stand tall and strong, to find ways to be healthy and to heal, to look to the future, and to move forward with Hope.
Now, a few months later, I am back to my normal work, making, designing, teaching. And the little hats and booties I made in those few days have been given to their new owners…
and more snows have fallen since then, and meals have been taken to the family, and eaten, and flowers are poking through the snow, and the surface of life has flowed back into its patterns. But the heart still listens.
There are quiet moments between stitch and stitch, times when my heart squeezes together thinking of my friend’s family. And I try to honour her, by working to be more useful, more courageous, and by believing in the ideas she demonstrated in her shining, brave, full-speed-ahead way of living:
That we are surrounded by love, that we carry it from its Source to each other in a single, looping, intertwined strand. That we need to notice…and help those around us. That no good action is too small. That we need to have Hope for new life growing inside, and nurture it.
And that we need to welcome Spring into our lives, allowing the frozen layers to be pulled back as we greet the bright Sun, pushing up fragile shoots of useful work, and unfurling new leaves of gratitude and healing.