slowing down


child's bedroom mantle rainbow and guardian angel by samantha spigos
child holds onto mother's sweater by samantha spigos

The hat I wrote about in my previous post on creative restoration is finished, and I do love what it signifies (read: taking a respite to tend to myself). Just as quickly as I wrote that post, I cast-on a hat for the littlest among us, who has a formidable head and has been without a proper hat the whole winter long. The hat caused me some strife right from the beginning, but I slogged through and tried to make do, pushing aside the voice in my head saying, this isn’t right; you need to start over. I pridefully ignored, the way we do. A furrowed brow and a most unpleasing sea of stitches later, I was reduced to a Complaining Knitter with a hat that hardly resembled the pattern.

I ripped back the hat to the beginning. I am starting over. On one hand it really feels like I wasted time and energy forcing my way through something I knew was not working. On the other, I am poised to begin again, this time with a more thoughtful approach. And while the story of the baby’s hat is true, it’s a metaphor. But I suspect you’ve gathered as much. How often do we hear that voice gently but persistently saying, this isn’t right; you need to start over. How often do we hear but ignore it?

wool yarn and a tea kettle on a windowsill by samantha spigos
vintage antique angel doll and beeswax candles by samantha spigos

We hear it in the midst of creative pursuits, but also in the words we use with our children and partners when we are particularly short on sleep. We hear it when we are thick in social media addiction, scrolling ad infinitum. We hear it when we lambast the world and all the wrongdoers in it until it is us who have turned bitter, hateful. We hear it after we have ignored the physical and emotional needs of our bodies. This isn’t right; you need to start over. Is not this voice a call to cast aside stubbornness and welcome humility? But, ah, that first part — casting aside stubbornness. It’s terrible! Becoming little and quiet so we might listen and experience renewal of spirit . . . is no easy feat. On the part of my personal story, it is much more than Rosemary’s hat that needs to be ripped back and laid bare. It’s my heart. As I crave (oh, how I crave!) for the soil to thaw and the Earth to come to life again, so too do I crave a spiritual springtime. The good news is I know the time is now. Out my window I hear the birdsong of the mourning dove and the chipping sparrow.

In the practice of my faith, tomorrow initiates Lent. Lent culminates in Easter—the truest spiritual springtime. But first we are invited to put in the work of stripping away and laying bare what must go, that we might see and feel the Very Best flowing through us. Whether it is the learned habit of Lent (it always arrives in the hardest part of winter), or the compounding of life’s funny way, I feel deeply eager to strip away the mud in my head and lean into something other than my own thoughts. Even if you are not recognizing Lent, and many of you are not, I am curious to know if you too are feeling a stirring in your heart for restoration? For a springtime, externally and internally? I would be honored to hear how you’re planning to enter in, wherever you might be.