Posted by: Patti Dickinson | 10/23/2013

A tangled ball of yarn

21884300A quiet Sunday afternoon……with a cardboard box in front of me with four skeins of thick sock yarn.  These are not wound into balls, instead they form about an eighteen inch loop if laid out on the floor.  Sounds simple enough.  Find the end and start rolling the yarn into a ball.  That worked great until it didn’t.  When I was about halfway done, I felt some tension on the end and looking down on the floor saw this mangled, knotted, mess of yarn.  Whoa.  This human yarn-winder had hit a monumental glitch. A huge time-consuming disaster.  Seems that once the yarn hits a place where you have to go under another strand to keep things running smoothly (and I obviously missed that place, since I had both eyes on 60 Minutes), I had just signed on for more than an hour’s worth of running the ball, under, over, around and through.  I had to walk away twice.  Just had reached the end of my, er, yarn.  I finally got one fat ball.

Here’s the rub.  Now I had three more to go.  Not too much more successful with any of those, either.  Even watching the yarn, not the television, didn’t prevent three more catastrophes.  I even got a little bit creative.  I tried looping it over my arm, butler style.  I tried hanging it from a doorknob, and in a last ditch attempt, found a chair with little doo-dads on the back where I could hang it.

Failure times four.


Life’s like that.

Things that you thought would be easy, turn out to be more than you thought you were signing on for.  Disappointments, sadness, the unexpected.  Walking away.  For a few minutes, for a lifetime.  And knowing when to do that.  Taking another run at something that you have been unsuccessful at.  Again. And again.  And again.  Not keeping your eye on the ball.  Missing things you shouldn’t have, saying something you shouldn’t have, not saying something you should have.  That life sometimes is a mangled mess.  Meeting failure gracefully.  That we’re really not in control of all those tangles.  That we are right where we belong, whether that be sitting on the floor winding yarn or curing cancer.  Or living with cancer.  That meeting those glitches — sometimes we’re going to meet them with aplomb and other times we are going to do that adult version of a temper tantrum.  That we never know what’s around the next corner.  In one beat of the heart everything and I mean everything can change.  That sometimes you can rewind and other times you can’t.


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