Tuesday, October 03, 2006

progress

By all counts, the new year has started. (Well, except by the count of the our pesky main calendar.)

For me, fall is the time of both endings and new beginnings. It is the time to say goodbye to the freedom of life in the summer with its spur-of-the-moment "let's-get-out-of-our-house-or-we'll-roast," its children-everywhere-at-all-hours, its zuchinni-coming-out-of-our-ears abundance.

We start our new school year, an education at home and with Son's fellow homeschooled friends, a time that has almost as much freedom as the explorations of life in the summer. But overlaid on that openness is the rhythm of hearing the school bells down the street, running out to play as soon as the children there get out, and the incessant taking of notes for the state homeschool portfolio reviews. Things are more formal and structured in the autumn, no matter what our goals may be. The chill in the air seems to demand that. Personally, I love the renewed sense of purpose we all seem to feel, the fresh sense of possibility.

* * *

We have just gone through the two major holidays that mark the beginning of the new Jewish year. The second, Yom Kippur, is a time to get right with God after we have spent Rosh Hashanah and the following days apologizing to our fellow beings. Every year, I spend the day in great struggle, unable to get it right, to make it have meaning. Every year the first holiday (Rosh Hashanah) allows me to turn away from the guilt and misdeeds of the preceeding year, to apologize not only to others but to myself. It is a place from which to move forward.

I think I am making good progress on a fresh new year only to realize suddenly I am not even half way there.

The second holiday comes, another wrapping up of the old year which I have already sealed--a sealing by God this time, a God that I don't know what to do with. I sit and pray to believe in God, sit and think I am crazy, sit and get upset about the divisions that we are codifying in our nevertheless-progressive liturgy, sit in frustration that I still don't believe, sit wondering why anyone would want to believe at all when so many of the injustices and hatreds in this world stem from and are justified by godtalk and religion, sit angry that people are assuming this belief thing is easy, sit confused wondering why people think belief is necessary at all or a good thing. The new year gets underway with me feeling lost and guilty and angry and confused and hurt.

And there is a lot of sitting.

And a lot of apologizing for being angry and frustrated and cruel (no matter how silently) to those who have such an easy time during this religious celebration or any religious celebration, in this my religion or any other. It leaves me nowhere but with hurts all around.

* * *

And then there is knitting.

Adamas progresses:

after six repeats...


...and after seven.


OK--enough with the photographs after every repeat. Now that the shawl is too large to really spread out on the needles, it does not seem to change much from one repeat to the next anymore.

I keep a tally on the sticky-tab that marks my place in the repeats: eight, nine....

At first it grew so rapidly. Now it stagnates, looking the same no matter how many stitches I make. The repeats go by and I am at the same place. I thought I was making progress, that I was going somewhere, until I checked out this shawl progress calculator. An enormous commitment is before me. I need faith to get me from here to the seemily-unchanged end. I realize I have only just begun.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I belong to a Protestant denomination and an active member of my church. I don't believe in God but continue to go because it is a social opportunity that is allowed me. My parents go to the same church and so do my adult daughters. I feel I do not have a choice. I'm intrigued to find someone else who is both active in her religious community and not a believer.

Liz K. said...

I am knitting a lace shawl right now, and now that it each row is over 280 stitches, each row is an endurance event. Kind of like life.

Last night, when the family atoned together over dinner, I thought about you. We are trying to do the right thing and ground our children with a sense of identity and tradition and spirituality. But I just don't know how to do it.

I can relate to your confusion and frustration. On religion and the shawl too.

FemiKnitMafia said...

I must try that calculator for my Icarus. Thanks for posting it.

gwtreece said...

Thanks for the calculator.

beadlizard said...

My mom's always emphasized the importance of thinking about God, that being a true believer isn't necessary, but questioning and being aware are part of being or becoming a better person. In other words, A for effort.

I admire the path you have chosen, and I think your son is proof of its validity. --syl

Sheepish Annie said...

For all it's hardships, the shawl is going to be a stunner when done! Nothing worth doing is ever easy, it seems...

Sara Skates said...

Wow - interesting overlay to my post - where I'm not a religious participant but wrestling with it nonetheless ;) and the parallels to your shawl progress...well, that about sums it up. Keep on walking fowards....

NeedleTart said...

The great thing about being in a Reform congregation is that you can be an atheist and still be a member of the community. Actions count more than philosophy. Kind of like knitting a shawl, just keep on keeping on and you will come out OK!

Beth said...

It's always nice to meet a fellow homeschooling knitter. Fall does have its challenges but I love to meet them head on. I know that the MY God judges us by our actions and not by our beliefs. I struggle to fit in in a very small, very conservative town and can not always be totally honest about my beliefs. I just do my best to be a good person, a good neighbor, a good friend, a good wife and a good mother. Everything else will take care of itself.

Your Personal Ray of Sunshine said...

Thank you for that calculator! It is quite depressing though, to see just how much is left...

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