I am knitting together stitches of red and white wool that I hope will become part of a hooded scarf, most likely to give to one of my nieces. It's not always clear, however, how such projects will turn out when we begin them. One of the church readerboards on my way to work in the mornings recently stated, "faith is taking the first step when you can't see the entire staircase." So much of what we do, how we move through life, depends on faith - in ourselves, in others, in our previous knowledge, in our professional training, in physical laws, in cultural norms...the list could go on for days. We use the term, "take for granted," but isn't that just another way of saying faith?
I picked up a couple salads and had lunch with my mother at her school yesterday. We ate in the teacher's lounge with several other faculty members and one, a substitute teacher, told us about her experiences having a brain tumor several years back, a condition that not only threatened her life but took her sight away for more than a year due to pressure on her optic nerves (the tumor was located on her frontal lobe, near the corpus collosum, so it pressed down into her eye sockets as it grew). For a time, she saw only a haze - gray out of the right eye, colors out of the left. And then, one day she woke up and saw only darkness. Everything she did became "by faith" - trusting that her house layout would remain the same, believing that the doorknob would be at hip height, knowing that tasks may not look as expected, but they would be completed nonetheless.
I've heard it said that it is by faith we learn how to see. Just as I twist and weave two strands of yarn around my needles and look in awe as a pattern emerges, we learn to follow by faith tasks laid before us and to marvel in the pattern of life that is created. I have told many people, taking this job, making the move back to Oregon, it just felt right. When my husband got a teaching job just before the school year started I wasn't surprised - I had faith we were following a plan laid out for us. It is hard, yes, and sometimes we end up with knots in the yarn and things we perceive as flaws in the resulting patterns, but we are creating something here, and it is turning out to be something pretty darn beautiful.