Friday, December 9, 2011

No Room

i see the signs across our culture - like a sign on our nation in flashing neon lights that reads, "No Room"...
& out for coffee with a friend one day, i find the courage to ask if she knows of anyone who could teach my girl to knit.  My girl is so undemanding... this one who willingly changes poopy diapers and works hard for this family every single day.  She has asked a couple of times now if she could learn to knit & i felt a keen disappointment that i couldn't teach her.  i wish for grandmas... for aunties... or for the skill to teach her myself.  But i see clearly that this is something that is just beyond me to learn right now... and so i'm left questioning a friend who i trust.  She says she might have a few leads & mentions a name i had secretly hoped would come up. 
i feel a hesitation though.  This woman, with the sparkle in her eyes & the quick smile... she has been off from her demanding job for the past while as she has gone through chemo & radiation... maybe asking her for a favour now... is just asking too much. 
i thank my friend for the suggestion & head home... feeling that hesitation brought on by human pride that would keep me from opening up... from knocking on her door, asking for help. Arriving at home, i find 2 emails in my inbox; one from my friend saying she has already asked & that Sheila said yes - & one from Sheila - confirming her pleasure in taking on a project with my girl. 
Sloanie is thrilled.  Nervously, we find Sheila's house that first day - and at our knock, she swings the door wide.  Those days, she always had different coloured scarfs adorning her head... often matching her eye shadow and dangly earrings - a serene smile for my staccato, awkward conversation. 
Shyly my girl enters, and i wave and walk home...
It wasn't long and they exchanged numbers so they could text to coordinate their meetings.  Sloan would pack her knitting bag - and walk away from the noise and chaos that is a part of being in a big family - to the peace of Sheila's tidy home to knit in the quiet comfort.
We would pepper her with questions when she'd get home... What do you guys talk about?  What do you do?  Is it strange?
& she'd smile that slow smile & answer... "Sometimes we're just quiet... but it's not that awkward quiet... it's that peaceful quiet.  We knit.  She shows me how and then she watches me do it till i'm comfortable.  i love it there..."
& then the projects started taking shape, tiny dishcloths that are overused in our bustling kitchen, a dainty pair of slippers, a jaunty red hat and a striped toque for little Sadie - whose chemo treatments have left her blond hair thin and oily...
& my bookworm would proudly show her creations - & i would marvel at her even rows - always a little awestruck when my little ones learn something that i never learned how to do...
When supplies were needed, they planned outings - Sheila and my girl.
Could she know the thrill that my soft one gets riding in her tiny smart car?  This girl who most often rides in a 12 passenger van full of noisy children?  Does she know how much it fed my sweet daughter's soul to be taken out by her adored teacher - to finger the yarn and buy what she needed for her next project?
& my girl watched her - as she encouraged a tearful woman they met at the yarn store who was about to embark on her own journey through chemo... my girl watched her as she talked about all that God had done for her - her need to write it down because His blessings were too many to count and she didn't want to forget any of it... my girl watched her as she opened the door of her home, and welcomed her in, in the middle of life with her husband, in the middle of her healing, in the middle of her busyness... my girl watched her.
Quietly one day, "Sheila's hair is coming back in... and it's beautiful.  It looks so soft and pretty..." And when i see her next, i see that it is, indeed, coming back in... and she sure does look beautiful to me.
A teasing little sister threatens, "i'm gonna ask Sheila for knitting lessons!" And i see my daughter roar, "NO!  Sheila's my friend, she's mine!" & i grin to hear her beloved teacher referred to as property. 
And then it was time for Sheila to start work again - slowly inching her way back to health and strength & i wondered... if she would need to end their lessons.  i wondered if her days at work would require her full attention - it seemed like it might be too much, balancing work and home... and my sweet girl's lessons too.  But they kept on - my girl watching the clock, "She's off work now... but her bus ride takes another hour... i'll text her then."
& it's as though i see Sheila... without a thought, bare hands full of strength - tearing down those signs that would keep out any who would want to enter - those signs with the message that there is no room here - the glowing lights blinking out on the floor in shambles... She opens wide the door for the thirteen year old girl that the Saviour brings when he knocks...
"Is there room in your heart for this one?" i hear Him say...
& maybe she'll never know... the blessing that she has been to a tired mama... who is doing the very best she can... with her own little Inn.  Maybe she'll never see the tears of gratitude i shed when i saw sloanie's confident smile as she opened a Christmas card reading, "There's nothing special about this card, except the person reading it...", and my happy face when i entered Sloanie's tidy room and saw the flower vase full of knitting needles...
As i reflect on Christ's coming... and the ones who turned his mother - heavy with child away... As i look around me and find that there isn't very much room left for people in a culture that is completely absorbed with self... As i daily try to hold open my arms and in whispered prayers tell my Saviour i'm willing... i'm grateful to say that this season of Advent... has been modeled to me beautifully, encouragingly and inspiringly...  by a Christ-follower - who found room.

7 comments:

carol said...

This is one of my favourite posts of yours!

Minerva said...

Beautiful. Someday when I come visit I'll have to compare knitting notes with Sloan :-)

Marcy said...

a breathtaking post.

mamazee said...

Beautiful. What a sweet friend, and what a blessing for Sloanie to learn a new skill that she will have for life, now!

farm_girl_4_jesus said...

Love it. Thanks for writing :)

Sara L said...

oh that is so awesome!! I don't know how to knit either and I am blessed with a similar lady for my Kayla. Every week my girl heads two doors down to an older lady's house and they knit or do scrapbooking (which I'm also terrible at). I've been so very blessed to have this lady in our life. Kayla was bullied a bit by some other girls last year and it was so lovely to have her go somewhere where she's loved and adored. They also meet with two other senior ladies and the 3 ladies all took her for tea on her birthday last month!
Hey, did you know that a lot of seniors clubs offer programs to hook kids up with seniors to do activities? Thats how we found this lady. Last year an older man met with Levi once a week and taught him to play pool! Maybe there's others in your area who some other kids could meet with too :)

Jeff said...

Awesome!

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