Thursday, May 08, 2008

GO: Theology Thursday: Spirituality and Knitting

I have been doing quite a bit of knitting since mrangelmeg began his new job and has had to travel so much. It really gives me a sense of purpose and keeps me calm and centered. It also gives me something other to focus on than being without him. The fact that eventually I have something to show for my work helps as well.

I started out making simple scarves and then ventured into even more adventurous items like shawls that had patterned stitching and intricate instructions that had to be followed.

Then when I got more confidence in my ability I even attempted a hat using circular needles. My first attempt was less of a hat and more of a mobius strip though, because I forgot to take care in making sure that I didn't twist the stitches when I knitted the first round.

What does all of this have to do with theology or spirituality you might ask? I discovered that when I am knitting I am in the same state of mind that I am in when I am practicing meditation or contemplative prayer. I am mindful of nothing in my surroundings except for the needles in my hand and the yarn passing through my fingers. My mind becomes free to engage in prayer (I often pray for the person who created the yarn I am using and the person who will use the garment I am making.)

Sometimes I am overcome by a deep wordless connection to God in the act of creation that is happening as I manipulate the needles.

I wanted to explore this a little further, so I did what any. literate person would do, I went to the library. There I discovered a wonderful book by Bernadette Murphy called Zen and the Art of Knitting. Mrs. Murphy, a knitter and writer (I love this woman already) talked to many knitters from many faith traditions and many backgrounds about the connection between knitting and spirituality. Within the pages of this book my own feelings have been confirmed.

If you love the creative needle arts, and want to discover how they fit into your spiritual life this book is a great read. I need to get back to my praying/knitting, I want to try to get the sweater done for daughter's graduation at the end of the month. With God's help and mrangelmeg's travel schedule I may just have enough prayer time to fill to get it done in time.


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