Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tinking back

When you make a mistake in knitting and have to knit backwards to undo the work before the mistake it is called tinking. Knit. Tink. Get it? Tink is the word knit backwards.

Sometimes in knitting you put in a life-line on a difficult pattern so that if you make a mistake you can just rip out the knitting until you get to the life-line and then you can pick up the stitches and start over. This is called frogging, because that is the sound frogs make - rip-it, rip-it, rip-it.

Yesterday I frogged and tinked a lot. And it got me to thinking about the things in my life that I have frogged or tinked, or wish I had. Now I am not talking about knitting anymore.

There are times I wished I could have tinked back to a moment and had a do over. Golfers call these mulligans. Those opportunities to try again - to communicate better, or be more generous of spirit, or to apologize and move forward.

There are times I have frogged, or completely ripped up a situation, and wish now that I had been more careful. I frogged when I should have tinked.

You see, the thing about tinking is that you are unknitting each and every stitch. As I tink I have to analyze each stitch, and then do it backwards to undo it. I have to ask myself - "Is this where the mistake was?" "Is this the place where I can start again?" Is this the moment where it all went so horribly wrong?" It is like looking back over your day - the Ruchschau.

When we were first married we often would stop fighting and ask each other to start again. To have a do-over. To grant a do-over is to offer a moment of Grace. It is allowing that there was a moment, a stitch if you will, where it all went wrong and acknowledging that we could do better. We could fix this.

And yet, there are times in all lives when frogging is the only answer. We have to unravel it, and roll it back up into a ball, and either throw it away, give it away, or make it into something else.

I know married couples, who after divorcing have re-knit their relationship into a strong friendship. I know close friendships that once ended have never seen the light of day.

So yes, knitting is sometimes rewarding and easy, and the stitches just seem to flow off the needles.

Sometimes there is a lot of tinking until it is right.

Sometimes frogging is absolutely the correct, and only thing one can do.

Sometimes we leave a mistake in as an example of our humanity, our fraility, our willingness to let the world see we are not perfect.

And sometimes mistakes turn out to be wonderful design features.

Just like Life.

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