The moths got to my handknits this year. Every sweater had at least one hole in it. And not just my sweaters, but those I’ve given away, too. The holes were small enough that they were easy to miss. Sickened by spotting one of them, I went on a hole hunt. There were a dozen others to find, scattered through five sweaters. I could have left them, of course, but I knew that would not serve their longevity. I’d put hundreds of hours into those five sweaters. They deserved my attention to preserve them.
Our prayer lives are like these sweaters. When you go hunting through them, you’re bound to find weak points or outright holes. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s natural, and it happens to all of us. Like those sweaters, our lives of prayer and contemplation deserve our ongoing attention. It’s not as glamorous to sit down, every day, for our times of silence as it is, say, to start out on the process of becoming a meditator. But that’s the only way to make our prayer lives robust enough to stand the test of time.
Lent is the season where we pull our prayer lives out of the chest, shake them out, and start to hunt for the holes. As with our handknits, we patch them slowly, one hole at a time, to the best of our ability, trusting all the while that these repairs add a bit of humanity, of softness, of grace.
Br. Aidan Owen, OHC, known online as the Knitting Monk, is Guestmaster and Groundskeeper at Holy Cross Monastery in New York’s Hudson Valley. You can read his writing and access old episodes of his knitting podcast at his blog.
Six days, six inches. Rows 16-24 of Pattern #26 from the Japanese Stitch Bible.