women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blinded By the Light

"You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in."

- Arlo Guthrie

Last night I attended Tyler Ward's memorial service. The parking lot was full; the pews were jammed; the room was full:

  • Of friends with aching hearts.
  • Of family with tears in their eyes and voices.
  • Of people whose lives were touched by this remarkable, yet oh-so-ordinary, young man.
  • Of love that refuses to die.

There were resounding words, beautiful music, and heartfelt prayers of many faiths. There were personal stories: of promises made and kept, of what was and what will never be.

But most of all, there was love.

I have asked many times over the course of my life, most recently during the past weeks...


Why this young man?
Why this family?
Why does life have to be so hard?

And then I asked myself, "If I knew that one of my sons was destined to die, like Tyler, at age 36, with so much of his life yet to be lived, would I wish to save myself the unspeakable agony of losing him by never having given him life?"

Of course not. I don't know any parent who would.

Perhaps losing those we love is the price we pay for having them in the first place.

I am acutely aware, as I design, that the key to any good design is balance.

  • Between knit and purl.
  • Between smooth and raised.
  • Between yarn overs and decreases.
  • Between color and pattern.
  • Between light and dark.

Contrast is what makes a piece sing.

Without contrast, our work looks like this:

Too much darkness renders the pattern indistinguishable:

Too much light washes it out:

Only when there is proper contrast, does the pattern spring to life beneath our hands.

Light and shadow.
Yin and yang.
Life and death.
Joy and sorrow.

We may, in our ignorance and pain, wish for light without the dark to stick it in. We may wish for it with every fiber in our being.

And we would be misguided.

It is the dark which gives depth and dimension to the light, revealing the pattern of our lives.

We are born out of the darkness of the womb and we return to the darkness of the grave.

Yet light surrounds us. The light of love and hope and faith sustains us all.

It shines in a baby's smile. It speaks in a father's memories. It sings in a mother's lullaby. It reflects brightly from the life of an extra-ordinary young man.

Light leads us onward. It invites us in.

And one day it calls us home.


Chery said...

A very thought-provoking post. Thank you for bringing the contrasts to the surface.

Kristy said...

What a beautiful post! Tyler and his family are lucky to have you for a friend. Three years ago my elder son passed away at the age of 31. I literally felt like my heart was being torn out of my chest, and it still hurts beyond comprehension to this day. I never imagined I would be one of those Moms who have lost a child. But there I was, and here I am. The only thing that makes the loss a bit tolerable is my faith that I will be with him again.

Thank you for your wonderful writing and your gorgeous patterns that help me enjoy the beauty in the world.

bmom said...

Times like this make me think of the Garth Brooks song The Dance....

"And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance"

dragon knitter said...

my youngest child has asperger's. he's 14, so we're also dealing with insane hormone issues. we're on our 4th suspension of the school year, and there's 4 weeks left of the 1st semester. but the sweet times are so incredibly sweet. i wouldn't know how sweet, if it weren't for the bad times. while i wish he had fewer bad times, i wouldn't have known without them. i'll take 'em. and i'm sure tyler's family feels the same. they'll take the bad, because they got the good, and for longer than many people can get.

Anonymous said...

Two months ago, I lost my beloved oldest son. He was only 36 years old. Please give Tyler's family my heartfelt condolences. I know what they are going through right now.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful attribute to someone who touched your lives in a very special way. My thoughts and prayers go to Tyler's family and friends as they try to understand this loss. His work was done here on earth and he was called home. Be assured that he is watching over all of you.

Connie said...

What a touching post Susan - when my mom died suddenly at 62, the priest told me that I felt as horrible as I did because I loved her so much. So I decided right then and there that if that was the price to be paid for having such a wonderful mother and for loving her as much as I did, then I was willing to pay it. I would much rather suffer through a loss than feel nothing.

Anonymous said...

Susan, I have been lurking around your beautiful blog for about a year. I have also knit one of your designs. Finally, I am moved to thank you. I'm sure you write partly for yourself, but I hope you are aware of loners like me reading your words and taking heart, if only for today. Thanks.

dmw said...

Having experienced the loss of my younger son at age 20, i was asked at the time just what you asked yourself in your post. The question put to me, in the effort to ease my pain i must add, was "if you knew you would only have him for 20 years, would you have still taken him?" my answer... "i would have taken him for 20 minutes."

My heart goes out to anyone who must suffer the unique horror of the loss of their child. I am sorry you and your friends must travel that road. thank you for your eloquence.