...again and again the visions of who we are, how we can be. The struggle we go through as human beings, so we can again and again have compassion for ourselves and treat each other kindly.
--Natalie Goldberg, "Writing Down The Bones"
I don't know if those words would have been interpreted quite the same, would have struck me and hit home as they did, would have rattled 'round my brain for days, as they have, if I'd read them on any day other than April 16th. The words "kinder, gentler nation" have loosened themselves from memory and have also been rattling around in my head.
Is there an ebb and flow to compassion and kindness? Is our hold on and awareness of compassion and kindness so easily lost? Is it something we regularly lose or forget about over time? Do the very acts of compassion and kindness depend on our being shaken up by unspeakable tragedy every now and then? Do we need to exercise every single one of our emotions the same as we exercise our bodies and minds -- use it or lose it?
Those are some of the things I've been thinking about this week as I knit, choose yarn for a crochet project, do laundry, pay bills, go to the store, talk on the phone, go to work, pick up Maddy at school, have a couple of beers with a friend, consider and try to solve the world's problems.
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My book club met last night after being postponed a couple of times and, since only two of the seven in attendance actually read the book even with all the extra time (I will freely admit that I wasn't one of them), a nice, lively discussion of many topics occurred over dinner instead. It was really just perfect and, actually, not unlike most of our meetings. I know I'm not the only one who attends book club for the social aspect ever so much more than for discussion of a book -- the book is a nice vehicle, and sometimes we are all swept away by one, but we're of widely varied interests and backgrounds, so that's rare.
I only managed one row on the Shape-It Scarf yesterday and nothing much, really, in regards to brushing up on my hooking skills, except that I did pull my trusty Reader's Digest "Complete Guide to Needlework" off the shelf and page through the crochet section. That book was one a practical gift from my grandparents in 1984 and has been relied on many, many times. I was happy to see that it had a section on reading a charted crochet pattern -- which is totally new to me. I have often seen this book -- sometimes multiple copies -- for practically nothing at thrift stores and I would definitely recommend it to a beginner, especially if the budget is tight.
It makes me smile to think of some of the other practical gifts from my grandparents -- flannel pajamas, a tied quilt, a complete set of towels when I had my first place, a brown/orange/gold granny square afghan...