You know how some people say that the eyes are the windows to the soul? Through the eyes, an deep pool of emotions can be expressed with just one glance.
I think for knitters, however, the hands are the windows to the soul.
Hands start small, soft, and simple. They grow and change, sifting through wet dirt after a rain and exploring their ever-expanding world. Skid marks, bumps, bruises, and scrapes befall them as the adventures continue.
Scars appear, nails are painted, knuckles are cracked, pencils sharpened. At some point or another, yarn begins to flow through the fingers. Soft bamboo and sharp aluminum join the mix.
Hands face the chapping, drying wind. They grow even more, working through sleepless nights. These hands fold laundry and move furniture. They change tires and cook meals. They will shake other hands, give high-fives, and intertwine their fingers with another set.
These are the hands that can climb mountains.
When I observe and compare the hands of my parents, I see my own hands. Yes, my mother’s are daintier than mine, and my father’s are rough and wider in the palm, but they each tell their own story. My life is written into their hands, just as their stories are woven into mine.
One day, my hands will be wrinkled and spotted, too, and skin will stretch over the knuckles like a lofty piece of parchment. Thankfully, there is a proud, immovable muscle that will be forever etched in the center of my palm. Decades of memories pile up over my wrist and down my arm. Fingertips are sore, fingerprints rubbed away.
You know, I don’t think I necessarily made a forthright effort to become a Knitter, capital K. As I’ve always said, knitting stuck with me. But honestly, reaching towards this creative lifestyle is about the only decision I’ve ever truly made for myself. Of course my family wouldn’t have discouraged it– I was the easygoing middle child who never caused trouble. At least I wasn’t talking back, or running a complex drug dealing ring at the tender age of twelve. Anyway, my nose was buried in a book ninety-five percent of the time. I didn’t have time to fight and stand my ground. I simply believed what others told me, whether it was about the world around me or about myself.
Sometimes I wish that I had learned how to formulate my own beliefs earlier in life. It’s profitable to be flexible and learn from others, although I don’t really know what it’s like to press an issue and stay steadfast in a single argument. No, I’m not a bitter or immensely regretful person. It’s not my style. I’ve watched irrational anger waste away lives, and that obviously brings nothing but pain.
My hands are shaped and strong, but they are untested. I can’t adjust myself for other people or for different situations. What I can do is lose my fear of making mistakes, because they’re absolutely inevitable, and beautiful in their own ways.
I am not my mother. I am not my father. I am not my sister.
I am my own person, I have my own hands, and I make my own decisions.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.'”