Meet Hank. He’s the newest member of our household. And like a mother who’s just brought her first baby home from the hospital, I can’t stop looking at the little guy. After all, it’s a wee bit like birthing a baby…because I made him.
Okay, maybe those of you to whom this sort of thing comes easily are wondering what the big deal is. After all, you make stuff that’s much harder and way yonder better all the time. I know…I’ve seen and admired all that gorgeous stuff on your blogs.
But, see, I’m not so talented in that way. Wait…that’s an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that I am utterly miserable and piteously wretched when it comes to arts and crafts. If you were being kind, you might say that I am “domestically challenged.” So I’ve developed an inordinate and irrational fear of attempting any sort of handiwork.
I feel quite overwhelmed when I look at craft project books because they all look so intimidating and complex. Pages and pages of instructions. Arcane words and phrases. I even bought one of those Klutz books for kids—to learn to knit. I thought maybe even I could handle instructions geared to kids. But I’m afraid I never got past “casting on”. (Or was that casting off?)
Anyway, before Christmas, I was looking at my Amazon Recommendations and saw a book with the straightforward and not-so-intimidating title of Sock and Glove by Miyako Kanamori. I was enchanted by the very cute and compelling little critter on the front. So I bought it. And true to its title, it turned out to be a book about making your own cute and compelling little critters—out of socks and gloves.
And here’s what I love about it: First of all, the instructions are as straightforward and unintimidating as the title. So, right away, I felt like maybe, just maybe, I could actually pull this off. Plus, there was nothing fancy to buy. I just used a pair of plain brown jersey work gloves. (Because they were less than a buck. It might be easier, though, to use the knit gloves she recommends). Also, I loved the way even the animals she made had imperfections, so that I didn’t feel like it would be a travesty if mine weren’t perfect. And, as you can see, they’re not. In fact—uneven stitches, ragged edges, hanging threads—they’re all there, plain as day. But that’s okay—I have a few hanging threads and ragged edges myself.
But after a while, Hank got lonely. He was a little shy around the other stuffed…I mean, invertebrate…animals that have lived here since our children were small. They were all storebought and finely stitched in China and Taiwan, with fancy plastic eyes and soft polyester fur. He was afraid they’d look down on him, with all his flaws and blemishes. So, I decided to make him a friend. A little sock friend.
Meet Homer, the sock monkey. Yeah, I know Homer is an odd name for a monkey, but, for some reason, he reminded me of Homer Simpson. Or, even worse, maybe a cross between Homer Simpson and Krusty the Clown. Can you see it? And yet, somehow, he’s really cute! Homer and Hank became fast friends and love to hang out together. Here they are looking at the pretty green tulip shoots starting to emerge out back. They can’t wait for spring.
Now those of you for whom handiwork comes easy may think me silly, but after I finished Hank and Homer, I was so excited and happy that I almost cried. Because I’ve failed so dismally at this kind of thing in the past and I didn’t think I could do it. Because I, with my many imperfections and inadequacies and self-doubt, managed to overcome my fear of failure to make something I felt proud of, even if it wasn’t perfect. Because even with their many imperfections, Hank and Homer were utterly adorable and lovable. And I thought about how even I, with all my flaws and blemishes, am adored and loved by our Heavenly Father and by all those who see me rightly. Those that look past all those imperfections and see what is essential and true.
Who would have thought I’d find grace in a little brown glove dog and a sock monkey who looks like Homer Simpson? Grace is always there—in the most unexpected places. Sometimes, we just have to make sure we recognize it in whatever form it takes. Whatever ragged, frayed, uneven, and imperfect forms it takes.