What are you Dragging around Unfinished?

Over 30 years ago, when earth tones were all the rage, I started an afghan that was brown, rust and cream colored.  It was an ambitious project and quite boring, mostly due to the fact that it was made entirely by using the afghan stitch.

If you don’t know the afghan stitch, let me explain it to you.  You put a bunch of loops on one large knitting needle, and then you take them all off.  Then you put them all on again, and then you take them all off again.  You do this—I don’t know—a couple of hundred times at least.

Suffice it to say that as we were preparing for a garage sale, I had to make a decision about my afghan that was about 1/3 of the way done.  It has been moved from place to place around my basement for several years.  It was kept in a big box with big skeins of yarn.

I had to accept reality.  I was not going to finish this monster.  But, what should I do with it?  I thought maybe I could sell it in the garage sale, but people smarter than I knew not to throw down any money on it.

So, as happens following a garage sale, you are stuck with all of your priceless gems that others have deemed to be without value.  So back in the house went the afghan box.

But, after 30 years, I have gained a little wisdom (not evidenced by this story so far), and knowing I would never finish the project, I decided to complete it.  I tied off the ends where I had left off so many years ago and made myself a lap blanket.  

I can’t believe how handy this little afghan lap blanket has been!

I would encourage anyone who has been dragging around an unfinished project to make a decision about it and get over it.  Life is too short to be burdened by stuff.

Speaking of stuff, I think the Missionaries of Charity (St. Teresa of Calcutta’s group of missionary sisters) get it right.  Their life is very simple, which allows them to connect in a deeply personal way with the people they serve.

I was watching a documentary on them and was amazed how they would go into a building which was going to serve as a home for them, and remove all of the mattresses, carpets and even declined use of the boiler system.

I will probably never completely understand their logic, as I do not walk in their shoes, but I find their complete dependence on Jesus amazing.

The documentary told about a guy who wanted to take a picture of Mother Teresa so that he could go back to where he came from and tell people about her and maybe solicit some donations for her and the sisters.

She was adamant and said several times that she did not allow fundraising on their behalf, that they depended totally on Jesus to provide for their needs.  They don’t ask for money, she told him, repeating an obviously hard and fast rule.

St. Teresa finished what she started for Christ.  Unlike my half-hearted effort with my afghan, no matter how tiresome her work was at times, (after all she was human), she stuck with it.  The reason is that she said Yes! to Jesus and refused to go back on her commitment to him, even if the work was quite disgusting at times and labor intensive.

St. Teresa was “all in,” all the time.

I suppose most of us have not quite reached the “all in” place that Mother Teresa did, but I am hoping that God can make something beautiful (and useful) out of our efforts, if we do not give up, even if it takes 30 years to figure it out!

Janet Cassidy


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