I received an amazing gift today. It’s a prayer patch, a small square of knitted yarn about the size of a pot holder, a smaller version of the better known prayer shawls. The idea behind prayer patches and prayer shawls is that the person who makes one prays for the recipient while making it. I received mine from my spiritual director. Attached to it is a tiny silver dragonfly, and along with it came a piece of paper that reads as follows:
What is it you receive when you receive a prayer patch? You receive a gift that proclaims peace – peace over you, peace under you, peace within you, peace around you. We cannot knit and hold a gun. We cannot knit and strike another. You receive a prayer patch that has been knit in love – love that is freely given for its own sake. You receive a gift that has been filled with healing intentions and comfort, a gift that seeks to console and give solace, a gift that celebrates and affirms, a gift that showers abundant blessings upon you from the compassionate heart of its knitter.
You receive peace that you may be peace.
You receive love that you may be love.
You receive healing that you may heal.
You receive affirmation that you may affirm.
Go bless your world with peace…love…healing…affirmation!
The older I get, the more I appreciate the power of such gifts, and the more I appreciate the importance of the tactile in the spiritual life. Icons, incense, stained glass, or even a small square of knitted yarn can point us back to the Love that will not let us go. They can speak the language of grace to us in a different way. When our minds are loud with the noise of life, when the storms and trials of calamity threaten to overwhelm us, when we can’t sense the presence of God around us, these things can point us back, can remind us that we are loved and prayed for, can remind us that there are others who will keep the faith with us and for us until we can regain it for ourselves. This patch reminds me that I am loved and prayed for by this dear, faithful sister in Christ, and reminds me of that in a way that I can feel with my hands even when I can’t feel it with my heart. It is a reminder to me of the presence of God in the blessed ordinariness of life. It is as ordinary as water, as ordinary as wine and bread, and as blessed and sacred as they are, too. It makes me want to learn how to knit.
What are the touchstones that remind you of the presence of God in the blessed ordinariness of life? What are the things that point you to love, to peace, to healing? How do they stir you to bless your world today?