I did my weekly trip to Publix this morning. Funny.
I catch the first bus of the day and I’m the only one on it. I’ve got my little shopping cart, Rolly, with me. Lately my trips to Publix have been filled with both panic and prayer. The dread comes first.
I sit on that bus clutching my shopping cart trying to make a run for it as we speed up, then stop, then speed up, then stop. I’m a little bundle of nerves, anxious, twitchy, ready to get off the bus, walk into Publix and face that dreaded scale….
I have been trying to eat my little butt off. I really have. Now, I’m not foolish. I have no intention of eating myself to the point of getting sick….but eating more than I have been is really requiring some effort. And like most things, you don’t see any real accomplishment until you can see the results of your labor. My state of doom is dependent on what a scale in front of Publix says week after week. Is this really working or not?
I’ll be damned. 107 pounds. Another week, another proud moment earned. Two weeks and two pounds more of me to love.
Oh, with relief I dash into Publix with a brisk bounce (yeah, I did look that silly) and got to shopping. Afford it? Who cares? I’m gaining weight! More bananas, more ice cream, more fat, fat, fat. More cottage cheese! And I’m gonna need some apple jelly for my peanut butter sandwiches. A dozen eggs will not do, bring me TWO dozen!
With a bloated Rolly, I paid, asked for cash back and left. It didn’t take me long to find the homeless woman I call the Angel. Nope, she was right outside the front of Publix trying to get in. The sensor on the electric door above couldn’t recognize her down below in her wheelchair for some reason. And it seemed like this was a pretty standard thing, because there was no real panic in her movement, no furious scream. Nope. She just sat there waving her raised hand as high as she could, back and forth, waiting for that electric eye to find her and recognize her as some kind of life worth opening the door for…..
I walked to the door, it opened and she greeted me with a surprised smile. There was a lot more I noticed about her this time. We only get a few moments together, there is no long discussion. We speak in gracious terms. “How are you?” “Fine, yourself?” “I’m doing ok.” “That’s good to hear.”
It isn’t my place to pry, it isn’t my place to question and ask, but to simply observe and see her, and maybe tend to anything that I can when I notice something new.
As she reached out her hands, I noticed she was wearing gloves today….bad, tattered, torn apart things that barely clung to her. These gloves were not intended for warmth at all. No, it’s August in Florida. These were the gloves she used to wheel herself, to keep her hands from blistering.
Well, of course I’m going to have to knit her some fingerless gloves, what kind of knitter would I be if I didn’t?!?!?
I thought I’d go for this nice deep purple acrylic. I felt darker would be better because if it begins to get a little dirty right away, it won’t be so noticeable. And why purple? Well, I’m getting a touch ahead of myself.
The other thing I noticed was that she only seems to have this one pink tank top that she wears. Probably just some random shirt, right? Well, I don’t think so, because the more I looked, the more that same pink was in nearly every garment she could creatively think. Those measly gloves may have been black, but that is when I noticed that everything else was pink. The rubber bands in her hair, the wrist band, the shorts, the belt….With further investigation you begin to see this once bright and festive pink fading into this drab, faded hue that has taken on a hint of rainy day grey. But, you can tell, there was a brightness about all of it when it was fresh….and she was still clinging to it. How it faded and why is none of my business….
I gave her the cash back, and raced back home, Rolly clanging through the cobblestone streets of Washington Avenue. I hurried, my eyes focused on my feet, my mind dashing through my stash of yarn. Purple gloves….Obviously. And a shawl. She needs a shawl! I don’t have the money to buy her new clothes, but I have TONS of yarn and I can make her a shawl that will make all of that beautiful pink pop again. Let her cling to that color for life if she wishes, if it makes her happy.
Once home I put my groceries away and got to work. Yes, I need to be making my own things for sale, but not today. No, no. Today I needed to spend some time with this shawl. And she may hate it. This may not be her thing, I might have over stepped her boundaries and this homeless woman may think I’m some kind of stalker.
In my own way, I wanted to pray for her….and sometimes the best way to do that is to just spend the time in silence working on a project for someone and truly thinking only about them. You don’t think about making a great impression, and how much they’ll love you when they’re gifted your masterpiece….(nonsense).
No, if you’re heart is really into it, you’re thinking only wonderful and blessed things about them and only them as you move from stitch to stitch. With a smile you focus only on hope for their comfort, and joy for their soul.
Sounds a lot like prayer to me.
So, I started working on this shawl in a great sort of Victorian garden ombre so complementary to pink. She may hate it. I may never see her again. Who knows what happens in life? But, for now? My day began with a self focused panic….and ended with a heartfelt prayer for someone else….As it should.
Gotta go. I wanna do a few more rows before bedtime.
If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. I wouldn’t have the courage to do it without your support.