The second day of my recent retreat, my spiritual director suggested I pray with Psalm 139. Verse 13 caught my attention: “For it was you who created my being, knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
I am a knitter, and when I begin a project, I can imagine what it will look like when it is finished. I know things can go wrong with knitting projects (running out of yarn or twisted stitches, for example) and also that some projects can turn out to be more beautiful than I ever imagined.
With the image of the knitter in mind, I approached God. “For it was you who created my being, knit me together in my mother’s womb,” I reminded God.
God had imagined me and created me. God decided on the type of yarn, what pattern and stitches would come together to make me. I held that image for a whole day, pondering God as my designer and creator.
When I woke up the next morning, my first thought was, “What if, when God created me, when I was being knit together, God added an extra stitch?” Throughout that day, I thought about an extra stitch, one little stitch.
In knitting, one extra stitch can completely change the result. It can throw off a pattern or change the shape or create something totally unexpected. An extra stitch can be a big deal.
What if I had an extra stitch and that extra stitch predisposed me toward an intense relationship with God?
For the next few days, I reflected on how blessed I am. I recalled so many wonderful things that have happened to me, extraordinary things, unique things—like being one of five people in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome when it was closed to the public or one of three people on retreat at a cottage on the shore of the Irish Sea.
I have also been fortunate to have deeply meaningful work in the nonprofit world which has been more mission than job. Working on behalf of people who are marginalized has been another way for me to connect with God and to see how God lifts up the poor (Luke 1:52). Relationships with people who are not valued by our society have made my life rich beyond anything I could have imagined.
Even more extraordinary than events and work are the many people who have blessed my life. I have incredible friends and family who care about me, support me and are unbelievably generous to me. They accept me and have stood beside me through some very difficult times.
When my friend Jim was dying, he chose me to be the person to spend his last days with, and some people have asked me why I think he picked me. Maybe he knew I had an extra stitch, that something extra that helped me to see clearly that we were in God’s hands and enabled me to carry out his wishes, to see blessings in our situation and to be deeply grateful every day.