It is almost finished. I started this blanket…umm..five years ago? There was period of about three years when I didn’t work on it at all because I had some family members who had weddings and babies for which I made things. However, I started this blanket when my husband and I married. We love these colors and it was intended to be for us, another kind of symbolic object (I have a lot of those). This year, I decided, this thing would be done by the time it got cold enough to need it on the bed. Luckily for me, we live in Texas, so it is still currently pretty warm here. Also in my defense, it is a king sized blanket made of granny squares: 17 x 17. That’s 289 squares. Each square takes about twelve minutes, early squares taking longer and later ones going faster as I memorized the pattern and realized how much wiggle room there was (less time spent counting), but then with all the tucking and all, it’s like 50-something hours of work.
I had a burst of activity on it this spring. I knew when I started putting it together, I would lose interest in doing the same process over and over if I didn’t mix it up a bit, so I alternated making squares and attaching them. First I did all 17 in one row so that I wouldn’t be tempted to finish early by turning it into a smaller blanket [As an aside, I will also mention that I had two other knit projects going: a celtic cable-weave sweater (which is now completed and looks awesome, if I do say so myself) and another blanket (for my daughter, who, at this rate won’t be using it until she gets to college; my poor son may not get his until he gets married)].
Last week, I had done another two rows worth of squares and I was really excited because I thought I had only one row left. Finally! I knew that each row had an uneven number of squares (6 + 6 + 5) so I laid it out to count the colors so I’d make only the right amount of each. There’s no good reason to make extra squares, after all. Just because I’m meticulous, I also counted the other side (how many rows) expecting to be at 16. To my horror and dismay, I was only at 15. That means there are two more rows to go, not one.
I saw in my mind’s eye the end goal fleeing back out of sight. I sat there feeling like I had taken a huge leap backwards. The end is still in sight, it’s just further away from the present. The work isn’t any harder, nor does it diminish the work I’ve already done. There’s no error that needs to be reworked (I so hate to rip out). It is merely the disappointment that something I had hoped for didn’t happen the way I had planned. I felt like I was in a movie and the camera does that thing when it pans and stretches way out really fast. The time bends away from me. The end that felt so near…isn’t anymore.
I think I feel echoes of that in other areas of my life: a promotion that never materialized, a degree that vaporized, continuation instead of approval for ordination, children that will never be. Sometimes these things merely take time, renewal, or restart. Sometimes they mean moving on and making new choices or new plans. That feeling of disappointment is harsh, especially when it is out of my control, like a giant stamp that marks “DENIED.”
Self denial is one thing; imposed denial something else entirely. What remains is choice. I have the choice of response. Do I choose to give up, give in? Do I choose to look for a silver lining or new direction? Once again, discernment is needed; breath and prayer and maybe a little poetry.