One day, unknowingly, I picked up the pieces of my pain and started knitting myself a sweater with the many fragments that were lying around. It felt good to put them to use and get them organized into something that I could make sense of. A sweater.
Not just a bunch of useless pieces of yarn lying around. See, they do have a purpose!
After years of working on that sweater, it seemed too valuable to throw away or put aside. So I picked it up and turned it over in my hands and felt it's fabric. I decided to wear it. Just try it on for size and see if it suited me.
It felt comfortable and cozy and it kept me warm and insulated from new and unexpected chills that I might experience. No thank you, I don't need another sweater, I've got this one.
Pain became who I was and how I experienced life and it even defined me as a person. Who wants to be cold and feel alone? Wouldn't you rather be wrapped up in a cozy layer of warmth that you spent years knitting...specifically for you and your needs? Plus, it served as a barrier whenever someone wanted to get close enough to feel skin on skin. I would pull the sweater tighter around me and hug myself and felt safe.
I couldn't give the sweater away. It would be ill fitting on anyone else. I couldn't sell it. No one would pay anything for it because, truth be told, I'm not that good at knitting. This was my first try. Yet to me, it was beautiful. Everyone knew me as the girl with the hand knit sweater.
Who would I be if I quit wearing it? How would people recognize me? More importantly, how would I recognize MYSELF when I looked in the mirror? I realized that I hadn't looked into my own eyes in ages. When I would pass a mirror and glance at myself, I only saw the sweater.
And then one day, I happened to look up and the sky wasn't completely grey anymore. I saw a bit of blue peeking through. A few months later, I stepped outside and was shocked to see that there was quite a bit of blue up there and I thought I maybe even saw a ray of sunshine trying to peek through the clouds. I guess I hadn't looked up in a while.
In the same way that fall had imperceptibly turned into the long hard winter so many years before, spring was turning into summer. The days were getting warmer. The grass was turning green.
There came a day, not too terribly long ago, when I walked outside, my sweater wrapped loosely around me.
And then I realized...the sun is too warm! The day is too bright! This sweater has no purpose anymore. I took it off. Nothing terrible happened. In fact, I felt better. Lighter. More hopeful.
I didn't throw it away. But I might. I'm afraid the nights will still be cold and I might need it. But I'm thinking maybe I could find some sort of a light jacket that I am not so attached to. Maybe I'll just snuggle with my kids or with my husband when I get cold. Maybe I'll use a blanket temporarily.
For now, its in the back of my closet. Sometimes when I go in there for a pair of sandals or shorts I take a look at it. Its been such a part of my life. I stop and run my fingers over it. I feel its soft and worn yarn. I smile a sad smile and shake my head.
And then I step out into the sunshine and look up at the blue sky. And I find that I feel fine. No, more than fine. I feel something almost like joy.