Confession time. I’m the Knitting Monk, and I’m writing Lenten reflections on contemplation and knitting. I also haven’t touched my crafting of any kind, knitting included, since the pandemic began. Oh, I stitched a few lines on a quilt, but that doesn’t count. I tell you this, not for absolution, but because I have found that whatever I’m going through, some of you are probably going through it, too.
You would think that, with all this time on our hands, we’d be praying and knitting like never before. Perhaps some of you are doing just that. Bravo! I mean that with only a teeny bit of snark. I’m not sure what to attribute my lack of creative drive to. When life is full to the brim, and I only have an hour or two each day in which I can sit down and get my hands on fabric or wool, I treasure that time. It renews me in the midst of a busy life, just as my prayer does. But when the day stretches out long and languorous before me, when I have plenty of time for a walk or a nap, my creative energy is more dissipated than I would prefer.
It may be what the monastic tradition calls “the noonday demon” or “acedia.” It’s a kind of lethargy or ennui that drains you of energy and leaves you listless. Then, too, I may need a time of fallowness to let the earth of my heart and my hands rest. Just because the surface is still doesn’t mean God isn’t stirring up the depths, you know.
Either way, Lent is the perfect time to practice honesty and to trust that, whatever I’m going through, there are others who have been there before me or are there with me now. Such are the seasons of a life. Perhaps with my knitting balled up in the proverbial corner, I can put down being The Knitting Monk and can be just plain Aidan. That’s a good Lenten practice, too.
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.
Project Update: Pattern rows 3-10 pattern #26.