Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Knitting for others

I've been reading about the Mitten Ladies who knit hundreds of mittens each year for charity.  Also about someone's aunt who used to knit afghans and give them away - who gave everything away that she knitted, keeping nothing for herself.  And the people who knit for Preemies and blankets for the orphaned and the homeless, for shelters for battered wives [see www.simplyknitting.co.uk]
It made me realise how unutterably selfish I am.  I struggle to knit a single item for myself that might actually compliment my ancient wardrobe...me, me, me, that's me.  I knit for my daughter in an effort to replace the jerseys my mother might have knitted her had she still been alive.  I knit for her to replace the jerseys my mother knitted for me years ago, that I wore out and ended up giving away to charity when I should have kept them.  I seem to be fighting myself in that line:  but that's me.  A mass of contradictions.  How lovely to have the time and the ability to whip out a pair of mittens in an evening for someone who is freezing to death on the other side of the world.  Balm for the guilty soul.  When I think about the endless problems of my life that I can't deal with, I wonder if it wouldn't just be easier to think about other people's problems, to deal with them instead of with one's own life.
Is that how charity begins?  To make yourself feel better?  Or am I once again showing my selfishness, my inability to truly empathize with others, thinking only of myself and how I feel and the tears I cry, the victim inside me that won't take a brave step.
Today I will have a go at stuffing that owl.  It has to be easier than thinking about the world.

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