Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A Litte Ray of Hope

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been ill this year with a mystery illness affecting my liver. This went on for 4 months without any change in my blood results, with me glowing in the dark because of jaundice and feeling exhausted and lethargic all the time. The closest the doctors could get to a diagnosis was that I had had a severe reaction to some drugs I was on for arthritis in my hands. As you can imagine this was a very frustrating time for me and my family.
Let me take you back a few months. I attend and sometimes teach a Ladies Class at church and this past year we had been studying the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. Each lesson dealt with one aspect and around the start of spring we studied "Patience". As an object lesson with this study we each planted a bulb in a pot, not knowing what kind of bulb it was (only the teacher knew), and we took them home to await the plant growing and to find out what kind of flower it would have. I don't know if it was a bad batch of bulbs or if we were a little late in planting them but only one of the seven or eight planted actually flowered. Mine grew a few pathetic little leaves and then sat there for months doing nothing. Several times I went to throw it in the bin but always something stopped me. This carried on all through my illness with only a few more leaves appearing. But no flowers! 
Just 4 weeks ago I again went to throw it out and again something stopped me. At the time I was going through a really difficult spell with 3 hospital admissions because of severe abdominal pain. So instead of things improving they were actually looking worse. My liver just seemed to have stopped functioning  properly and was determined to stay that way. The very next day after almost throwing it out, I checked my plant and there amidst the leaves was a tiny bud. I couldn't believe my eyes! What is really amazing though is that very same week the doctors decided that the only option left to try and get my liver functioning was to start me on steroids. Within days my blood results were improving and I was already looking less yellow. And that tiny bud has blossomed into a beautiful pink anemone.
I'm not sure what to think. Was God teaching me patience these last few months? It is certainly a lesson  I have had to learn. Was the plant my very own object lesson? I'm not sure if God works that way. What I do know is that Jesus used everyday things in nature to teach spiritual lessons. "Look at the sparrows", "Look at the lily". "Four kinds of seeds" And what I have learned in watching that little plant over all those months is that ...
"The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint." Isa 40:28 - 31

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A New Start

This is my first attempt at blogging so be gentle with me. I'm still not really sure what I'm doing or even who I'm doing it for. Or if anyone will be interested in reading it. I just feel the need to express some of the things I feel about life and what is going on in mine. I've been ill recently and off work for a few months so have had some time to think about things and to see what is important to me. The truth be told a lot of it has been spent in a zombie like state unable to concentrate on much beyond what's on TV. So perhaps now that I'm starting to feel better and my brain is beginning to function again, I am inspired to use it creatively. Whatever the reason - here I am.
So why knitting as a theme when there are so many other aspects to my life? Well, I've been a knitter most of my life. I'm 54 now and I was taught to knit by my Auntie Evelyn when I was 5 years old. Since then I have knitted on and off over the years as the urge takes me. Not constantly. But there are times when I just feel the need to pick up my needles and knit. It has been a therapy of sorts and has brought me a lot of pleasure. And provided me with some great pieces of knitwear. I do prefer to knit little things, especially baby things, and often the more complicated the better. There is great satisfaction in seeing something special taking shape on your needles and knowing that you created it.And that it may give someone else pleasure. So, in spite of my interest in many crafts and creating beautiful things, knitting was the first skill I learned and the one I return to the most.
Recently I read a book on my Kindle called "The Knitting Circle" by Ann Hood. Great wee book. It's about a circle of women who have all had great personal tragedies to come to terms with and how they were helped by taking up knitting. I had a recent experience that confirmed this to me. I spent nearly two weeks in hospital and for part of that time I was in a side room on my own. It was good to be away from the busyness of the ward and have a bit of peace and quiet to recover. But it can be also a lonely, frightening experience. Too much time to think about yourself and to worry. After a few days I was moved out into the main ward. The old fashioned kind with ten beds. What we used to call "Florence Nightingale style". That was a bit of a culture shock.The ward was busy and full of women of every age and with every kind of illness. I was a bit overwhelmed and felt a bit shy but I quickly determined that I would try to get to know at least the ones in my immediate vicinity. I did this with mixed success. One lady in particular, on my right hand side was very elderly and slept most of the time, not taking part at all in what was going on in the ward. When I spoke to her I didn't get much response. Then I took out my knitting. I am knitting a little green cardigan for my youngest granddaughter, Isla. Just a simple cardigan because of my lack of ability to concentrate just now, It had an immediate effect. People who had barely acknowledged me before, stopped by my bed to see what I was doing. One particularly unpleasant nurse even asked to have a look!! Isabell, a sprightly 88 year old in the opposite bed, struggled out of bed and crossed the ward on her two sticks to see what I was up to. As she lay in bed that night she called across to me to tell me that when she got home she was going to be looking out her needles. But most amazingly of all, the lady on my right (also called Barbara) had been sat up in her chair by the nurses. She actually instigated a conversation about knitting. Admittedly a short conversation but a conversation none the less.
So why knitting? Because I do believe that knitting does bring people together and creates a bond. In this day and age of austerity it is also a good way to save money. An easy way to create something beautiful. And it is excellent therapy for the troubled soul. So whilst this blog won't all be about knitting it will be a central theme, something to hang all the other things going on in my life on. And hopefully you will get something out of it too. Maybe you are also a knitter. Maybe you would like to be able to knit. I would love to hear your comments.