There was no way that I was going to win, nor even come close to winning the Martha Stewart award for an American made craft. It just wasn’t going to happen. The last day of voting, I had nearly 4,000 votes, which I was awfully proud of….however, the lead had 100,000 plus. The last week of voting I pulled back and said to myself, “well, there you have it….” Kara kept insisting I keep pushing, keep trying, begging for votes. But, to be honest? I was tired of begging. I’m so frigging tired of begging.
My supporters came out to help, they voted six times a day, they did what they could. But, at some point you just have to agree that your campaign has fizzled….
I was once in a monastery, back in my 20′s, pursuing a monastic life. And it didn’t work out. I wanted to stay there for the rest of my life, and was content with the idea that I could remain a monk in quiet service to the rest of mankind for the rest of my days when Brother Robert said to me quite simply, “Sometimes where YOU want to be, isn’t where God NEEDS you to be.”
I remind myself of that when I yearn for something I want deeply, then get reminded quietly when I don’t get it of something else. I’ll explain…
George and I were running errands the other day. And at a stoplight I saw this man off at the corner, waiting to cross once the light changed. He looked about mid 50′s, black trousers so faded they now had that hint of green, the knee caps a shade closer to grey. They were two inches too short for his inseam. His socks had slipped down close to round his ankles. His shoes, both black, both rubber soled, had frayed laces. His shirt was a dark brown plaid, with a slight rip toward the left forearm. You could see it mouth wide as some sort of honest laughing smile when the breeze caught and lift it. His hair was thin, wispy, his long fingered hands holding a grocery bag that had been so over used it was splitting. His head was held down, his eyes blinking only on occasion to the ground, the other time peering up to watch the signal change to allow him passage. Somehow, I felt that was the only thing allowed him. But, let me tell you this much. Those terribly faded pants had a crease, those shoes had a shine, that shirt was tucked in, and that wispy hair was Brylcreemed back on the sides. And when the light changed, his stance grew bold, and he took that passage he was allowed in stride.
That man didn’t have much, didn’t seem to have too much of anything. But, what he had, he held close with pride, and made sure that when he was visible, he was a gentleman. Tattered, faded clothes and all. He was presenting himself a valid MAN, a legitimate human with what he had to offer. And though his clothes were sad at the seams, he wore them with pride. He was DRESSED.
From the direction he was going, I could tell the was heading towards a hotel near here where they rent by the week. A lot of homeless men share one room, pitching in what they can. Its a room they can share, get clean, and sleep in some sense of safety.
I understand why I didn’t get a fraction of the votes necessary for the Martha Stewart award. That isn’t where I’m supposed to be. I don’t knit these teddy bears for the sake of having a clean, photogenic studio where the color palette works well with the furniture. I knit these teddy bears to bring attention to the man I just mentioned above. Somehow that award was about who has more (votes, “likes,” business experience)…and I’m about reminding people about those who have less (like love, hope, food, homes…..)
So, here in the trenches is where I’m needed. Not in Manhattan at a conference. Not in glossy print.
I belong here. Right here. Knitting up teddy bears like a madman for anyone who feels unwanted, unloved, without hope, and in need of something to hold, to remind them that they are not alone.
And that’s as simple as I can put it.
I’m right where I ought to be, where I’m needed.