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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Today I'm Thankful For.... (Part 1)

I've decided that from now until Thanksgiving I'm going to write a post each day about something I'm thankful for. So today I'm thankful for....

The Lesson I Learned from Steve
In Two Parts

Part One: The Shawl

I first met Steve in my knitting group. He was, at the time (and still is) working with two giant skeins of yarn that had been given to him. One skein was pink, the other green, both in shades that don't actually exist in nature but can be found on kitchen appliances of a certain past decade. The colours were, in short, complimentary only in the sense that they could both be found sharing a kitchen in the '70's.

But Steve, for a couple of weeks, worked on knitting a shawl out of these skeins in alternating squares of pink in green. Curious about who he could be making such a shawl for, I asked him.

"I'm making it as a prayer shawl", he said. "I'll probably give it to a church to give to someone who needs it."Which, I thought, was very nice, but, to be honest, I wondered about what the future recipient would think about the colour scheme.

About a week after this, I was in my church parking lot heading into the building when I caught a flash of green and pink out if the corner of my eye. I turned to look and there, unmistakably, was Steve's shawl getting out of a car. I started to greet him, when I realized it wasn't Steve wearing the shawl, it was C.. C. was a woman in my church who had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

I went over to greet C., but it was really the shawl I focusing on. It matched C. perfectly. In fact, if Steve had known C. his whole life, he could not have made a shawl that suited her better. It reminded that everything has a place and everything has a purpose.

Part two: The Diagnosis

This part concerns a young woman, whom I know very, very well, and shall call, for the sake of this story, "Emily" (Think about it. This isn't a hard one.).

Emily had had a rough weekend. A rough week, actually. She had made some decisions that were hard to make, and was looking for comfort, and maybe advice from her knitting the group. But if she was honest with herself, what she really wanted was attention. She wanted people to agree that she had had a rough week, and to feel bad on her behalf. In short, she felt selfish, and worse, she felt she was entitled to feel that way.

Shortly after she arrived at her knitting group, Steve commented that he'd had a bad week, and for no one to be offended he got up and left early. Emily took that comment as her cue.

"I bet I had the worse week," she announced, and then proceeded to enumerate they ways in which her week had been bad. After she had finished, and basked in what she felt was her deserved sympathy, someone (Emily would like to think it had been her, but couldn't remember) asked Steve what happened during his week.

Steve paused before answering. "I was diagnosed with cancer in my hip."

And that moment, Emily realized that she'd been so caught up in her own problems, that she had failed to notice those of the people around her.


Steve will have radiation seeds placed on his hip tomorrow with the hope of killing the cancer. They will, fittingly enough, be remove on Thanksgiving. And in the meantime, Emily...I mean I, have learned what it means to think about others. To serve others with my gifts, and to stop and be thankful for especially the little things in life.

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