Tag Archives: Knitting

Hallowed Spaces and Holy Places

IMG_20151129_155522

“Jazz Vespers St. Andrews- Wesley”

iPad Photo DS 2015

The cedar-paneled room was in the basement of the institution. I was led there on a personal artist tour. An altar was set up with Bible and candle. Some chairs were in the small chapel space. Floor to ceiling framed photos lined one wall. The disabled guests here are remembered after they die. They each know that they will not be forgotten. It gives them comfort. I felt in awe of such respect and love but was not willing to be part of that group. It was God who made this space holy.

Another room surprised me with its presence in a different institution. Again I had had a personal tour to a room I did not know existed. A locked wood and glass cabinet was here. Books all bound the same; each had one name. Our conversation, for my benefit, was about a specific doctoral candidate’s thesis. But the door key was not found. Here too each person special to the group was honoured. These leaders were God chosen.

These two spaces caused me much thought. The visits were 4 years apart. My mind and heart saw their similarity only now. The first honoured the lowly of our society. It brought me to tears. The second storied tour inspired sadness. I would have liked to have been included in that group one day but was not willing to pay the price for entry here either. I am not of the most disabled lowly nor one of the elite doctoral academics. Both are equal in God’s economy. Only God knows how I will be remembered.

A raised cement labyrinth on a grassy area behind a sold building causes me to wonder if that neglected space would still be holy. Another labyrinth painted on tarmac shines barely visible as children play nearby. Does holiness come and go according to the use of the space?

What makes a place holy? I knit and pray in my garden room by the window. It seems that a place called Lourdes in France where lots of healings are reported to have happened would be called holy. A great place that lays over land and sea too is deemed holy as kings have been buried there. St. Columba founded this Iona Abbey in Scotland. Are some places more holy than others? Do more prayers get answered there?

We honour God and God shows up. Or perhaps God honours us so we can show up. The Celts called these spaces, thin places – landscapes where the kingdom of God has broken through the earth. Are they locations where the Spirit has broken through the hardness of the human heart? Is holiness a feeling that happens in God’s presence? This is what I ponder this third week of Advent.

What do you think? Have you experienced a holy place or a holy feeling?

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KNITTING BY MOONLIGHT

IPad Photo - the light of the full moon is echoed by the light in the room

IPad Photo – the light of the full moon is echoed by the light in the room – DS

A desire to knit pulled me into the garden room on my way to turn in for the night. I sat down, pulled the green shawl around me and took up my knitting. I often pray the Jesus Prayer as I sit to contemplate. Green and grey, purl and knit, or knit all the way across, forms the rhythm. I now pray Breath Prayers for my loved one whose birth day was quite a while ago.

Scenes from the happy past appear in my mind as I glance through the blinds at the full moon. I feel called to this unusual task. As I knit by moonlight it feels memorable like other things one will never forget. This night, this night, will my prayers be answered?

Many years I have prayed for the one who is far away. This way I keep her close waiting for that hoped for day. Promised blessings form my soulscape for her as she lives and moves and has her being.

As my pink needles stop their inherited journey I stop to wonder if my knitting grandmother experienced this peace in praying. I paused to wonder if this silver night would mark a turning point in my loved one’s faith and life. We come from a long line of knitters and prayers. It is who we are. Thanks be to God.

Colossians 2:2

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

Excerpts from a Paint-Spattered Journal

NYC Journal at the Waterfront

NYC Journal at the Waterfront DS

Wednesday July 1, 2015

My plan is forming as I take an early morning walk at the waterfront. Painting at the waterfront takes a lot of stamina and a different kind of creativity that can be interrupted with questions. I take steps to be ready for Saturday when I will paint for the first time this year. I have chosen my spot and made a list of the size of canvas and brushes, paint tubes etc. I will need. I will do a little prep each day and leave early Saturday so I can get parking. I know that when I am there painting and looking up at the waves and people, the words always come to me: “This is what I was born for. I am being the real me”.

Monday July 6, 2015

I went painting Saturday after much indecision and inner dialogue (why bother you can paint more easily in the studio). The day was perfect – sunny and windy. I arrived early to get parking close to the lawn. I slowly unpacked the car then sat and wrote in my journal. I got my paints and brushes out, and then I rested with my thoughts.

The results of the day were that several people came to admire my work and to engage me in conversations about inspiration and exhibitions etc. I was able to begin a painting that I really like. I usually paint in layers so I can work on it over the next few times I go there. I hope to go once a week for 3 hours but with this smoke from wildfires near the city I am wearing a mask outside so it may not work out. Anyway, I am so happy I made the effort. Painting in the studio – great. Painting at the waterfront – priceless.

Tuesday July 7, 2015

The act of painting is very physical for me but much of the work is visual and art history research. When I am ready I lay another layer of paint on the canvas. This week I am hibernating because of the smoke. I keep my painting where I can see it every day so when I get ideas for the next step I am ready ahead of time.

I hope to paint at the waterfront once a week over the summer. I do not go on the crowded days. Next time, in order to lower the impact on my body I will take fewer supplies to carry.

Saturday August 8, 2015

The artists arrive one by one jostling for space in the shade. Some have the requisite red umbrellas, although most have bitten the dust seasons ago. The painters of the “Painters Landing” program are each permitted 12 feet of space. Some take more, some less. It is 9:30 A.M. on a Saturday morning.

I have honed down what I bring to essentials: 2 easels, a chair, a small table, a paint box, a water jug, and a carry bag. I also bring a couple of small, framed paintings to exhibit on one easel and a blank canvas to work on for the other today. The printed brochures say we are: “demystifying the art-making process”.

After set-up which takes about 10 minutes now, I settle to record the view in my journal: 10 tankers, a sailboat, a tugboat, 3 fishing boats and a motorboat fill the scene. Sounds pierce the tranquil place: a yellow pile driver of magnificent proportions from the construction site in the next block, beloved seagulls call, and the snatched conversations of late joggers intermittently fill the air close by. The smell, of course, is of the sea.

Photos are next. I travel light.   Phone photos will do. A couple of umbrellas stuck into the sand ahead, one green and white, the other solid pink, are only the beginning of a day of colour. I have made it again here – for the sixth time now. I am instantly happy. This is my working holiday: my staycation. It is sunny with a slight breeze: perfect. The day will be good with or without sales.

Monday August 10, 2015

It must be seen as arrogance – this attitude of joy I have. One woman says to me: “I have to make sales. I am not a hobbyist”. A sharp retort comes to mind. Then, humbled, I pray for sales for all of us – especially for her who is alone. Perhaps I am arrogant in my freedom of other income streams. Admitted or not, sales are the main form of validation for the successful artist, the beginner, and for those of us who are perpetually ‘emerging’. So far this month, I am just salt in their midst.

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Book of Ephesians