My mum taught me to knit when I was about eight years old, but I was never able to master the art of casting on or off. Ask me to sing and play a guitar at the same time, no problem. But the pesky task of beginning and ending a knitting project was—and still is—beyond my motor skill capabilities.
I would frustratingly watch my mum magically (and easily) manifest a row of little loops on my yellow plastic knitting needles so I could begin yet another “scarf” . . . which more than likely would be finished off by her later that afternoon, the project a useless square of knitting serving as yet another picnic rug for my Lego figurines to laze about on.
My creations were never brilliant, often full of holes where I had lost stitches, or bulges on the edges where I had somehow mysteriously gained stitches. But whenever I was “done” with a project, all I had to do was hand my nub of knitting to Mum so she could do the magical last line, which somehow got all the wool off the needles while keeping everything intact. The project would be tidy at both ends, with my messy middle sandwiched nicely in between.
Then breast cancer happened. Mum, the beginning and ending to every piece of knitting I ever did, remained in remission for seven years following treatment, until cancer returned in her bones and liver in 2010.
I was lying beside her when she passed away in 2012. My beginning and end, the perfecter of my work, was no more. It seemed as though I had nothing to anchor the messy middle of my life to anymore. Nothing to affirm what I had done, and assure me that it would all hold together and stand the test of time.
All I had left was a messy middle that was quickly unravelling without her there to neatly hem it in for me. Something had to be done or there wouldn’t be much of me left. I needed to find a place for my weary middle to rest.
That’s when I rediscovered another Beginning and Ending: One who had existed for far longer than my beautiful mum. In the busy-ness of life I’d somehow forgotten. But the thing about true Beginning and Ending is that He is always there.
He was there at the beginning of creation and had promised to be there until His masterpiece was finished. The original Beginning and the truest of Endings. The Alpha and Omega. The One who hems in all of creation. The One who loved first and loves best. The One who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Occasionally, I still allow other things to hem me in—schedules and chocolate mostly. They give the illusion of comfort, but undoubtedly things begin to unravel because they’re not hemmed in by the hands that created it, the hands that loved it first and best.
My life makes little sense without my Alpha and Omega, for without a beginning and an end, nothing is possible in the middle.
I am constantly surprised that He trusts me to create the beautiful, messy, middle of my life, with all of its holes and unnecessary bulges. That He daily promises to be my Anchor, the Perfecter and Finisher of all that I put my hand to, is a beautiful mystery.