The Flip Side of a Cleansing Breath
I didn’t tell you that while we were vacationing at the Jersey shore I found an antique vase (chipped and inexpensive) in a bayside boutique. I was charmed by it. I pictured it on the windowsill of our parlor.
There is something else I didn’t tell you. The day I was sitting on the beach for an hour of knitting bliss (on a previous post), is the same day Dean was taken to the hospital. After supper he had intensifying pain. A telephone call to our GP in Pennsylvania revealed that it could be gall bladder. At 8 o'clock my father drove us to the ER. Since the island has many more times that amount of people in August than it does any other time of the year (especially on the week-end) the ER was crowded. Dean was attended to, thankfully, when I brought his needs intermittently to the attention of the staff. I am naturally unassertive but will step out of my comfort zone for those I love.
Come midnight I urged my father to leave. All that separated Dean’s narrow bed from another patient was a curtain. On the other side of the curtain a little boy age 3, the same age as our grandson, was rushed in. He was suffering a seizure. It took a team of doctors and nurses quite a while to calm the seizure before he was transferred to a larger hospital. His mother’s face was red with tears. I prayed, begging God for my poor Dean. His pain was terrible. I also prayed for the little boy.
At 4 o’clock in the morning one groggy hubby was doing better and released. Our son-in-law, who had come to the Jersey shore with my daughter for the weekend, retrieved us. The day was dawning when we lumbered up the steps to my parent’s bungalow numb with tiredness. It was a sleepless night but a beautiful morning. I was thankful.
Back in Pennsylvania I knitted during Dean’s scheduled doctor appointments. Waiting rooms are good places for knitting. I embellished this easy pattern with a Fair Isle design referred to as strawberry flowers by Norwegian knitters since ages past. Changing colors and twisting in the back of the knitting goes slowly. But this only lasts a dozen rows or so and adds interest for the knitter.
While I waited for a good time to seam my pieces Hurricane Irene began its path up the east coast. My mother telephoned. She and Dad were being evacuated from their bungalow, as was all of Long Beach Island. “Please come and stay with us, of course,” I told her, “The spare room is ready for you.” They came with an extra suitcase of valuables in the event their home, a block from the beach, was destroyed.
Tall forest trees surround our house. When the high winds of the hurricane hit it roared in the trees. At night I saw in the dim light that the trees were swaying alarmingly. It was frightening. The electricity had failed at 3 am. I had prepared for this. Before going to bed I had turned our two refrigerators into iceboxes with frozen jugs of water from the deep freeze. I was busy. While I made lasagna for supper I had baked a loaf of wheat bread (in the bread machine) and made my orange-cranberry quick-bread usually reserved for Christmas mornings.
“I don’t want you to fuss over us,” my mother told me as she watched me level off the flour with the back of a knife.
“I have too few opportunities to fuss over you,” I told her and stopped to give her a floury hug.
After supper I had arranged the table with nonperishables and candles for the following day. Mixed nuts and fruit such as early local apples gave the table a rustic harvest time feel.
By morning the wind had subsided to a strong breeze. Without electricity the men were restless. They wished there were a battery-powered radio in the house somewhere. Under the surface of their composure I knew my parents were really very nervous. While we waited to hear news my mother sat knitting by a window. I took the opportunity to seam my sweater. The heavy clouds made the house shadowy. The only light bright enough for seaming was under the skylight in the kitchen. So I sat at the table. Most knitters would rather knit than seam. I am one of them. But I was happy when I attached the ties at last and held it up for my mother to see.
This is a frugal “use-it-up” sweater. I had estimated that I had enough leftover yarn from other projects to make the 18-month size. The yarns were all worsted but on close inspection of slightly different weights. It is not advisable to combine odds & ends, as they can bring a different tension to the rows, but I took the risk. The different yarns did give the strawberry flowers an ill-fitted tug in places but it came out fine.
When the electricity was restored my parents were relieved to hear a positive news report of the Jersey shore. They returned the next day to a house intact. We were all thankful.
Life brings us sunshine and shadow. We feel the tug of its ill-fitted stitches because we live in a fallen and corruptible state of existence. What we see is the reverse side of the tapestry. God alone sees the front. Miss Corrie ten Boom, who was adept at embroidery, shared this tapestry parable in something of hers that I read. I wish I could tell you where.
Here you see the reverse of my knitting. When I am prone to ask God “why,” when I need encouragement to trust Him during times of stress or anxiety, I remember Miss Corrie’s tapestry.
After the storm, with a blue sky above, I took a walk. I was intent on picking wild flowers, finally, for my new vase. Calico asters, one clover and the last of the Queen Ann’s lace helped make a wispy bouquet with garden verbena.
Between chores I sat in the parlor with my hands folded – just for a moment – to gaze at my flowers. They looked just as I had imagined they would. It was a lovely cleansing breath.
The cross-stitch scene of the bungalow on the beach isn’t mine. We photographed it (through plastic) last week at the country fair. It won a ribbon.
Interview with Suzanne and Karen
Suzanne at Blueberry Cottage honored me with an invitation to share on her beautiful blog. If you are curious to read a mix of my reminiscence and opinion you will find the interview on her post.