The Blanket of Humanity

I like this time of year. I enjoy being cold; it makes such a great change from the typical 110° summer heat. I can always put more clothes on, but I cannot always take more off. Besides, I love cuddling under a blanket and/or duvet with a purring cat next to me. I’ve been sleeping much better since fall arrived, and I love that too.

It is a great time for knitting. My hands don’t sweat as I work the yarn, and my fingers don’t slip off the needles, taking some stitches along with them. Color schemes change with the fall change; I use more autumnal colors than I do in spring and summer, although sometimes I revert to summer and fall colors.  Like when someone I know is having a baby and shares the gender ahead of time. Pink, or blue. It occurs to me that every knitter should knit for a baby every now and then. Or, maybe a sailor, a preemie, an abandoned child, a chronically ill person, or a senior. 

A friend asked me to make a blanket for a friend’s son who, with his wife, was about to have a baby boy.  I found some lovely yarn – a three-ply yarn with two strands of white and one of a very pronounced baby blue. The yarn knit up so soft and cuddly into a pale shade of blue all over. Looking closely, though, I could still see distinct strands of white and blue twisted together. The blend softened the brighter blue, and the white gave the blanket a cloud-like appearance. There were different strands melded together just perfectly.

I started to think about diversity and how it plays a role in my knitting. Then I broadened my view a bit. What if I could view a crowd from a very high altitude? I doubt I could pick out people of various races, cultures, and such, much as I couldn’t pick out the shades of yarn I was using. Yet, close-up, that all changes. 

All kinds of people make up the world around me – who I walk beside on the street, or come face to face with. Some people stand out, perhaps because they are smiling, laughing, or wearing clothes bright and colorful. Other people blend into the background as though they might be hiding or prefer more somber colors. Some people speak English, others Spanish, or even German one of the Asian languages. All of this diversity reminds me of years ago, riding city busses in Washington, DC, when visiting. I could people-watch and would hear people speak in languages I could not identify. Like the blanket yarn, each person would stick-out in their own particular way, yet blended together in the great blanket of humanity.

Who sits in your church pews? With whom do you share office space? Who plays on your child’s soccer team? Who is your doctor? What about the clerk in the store you patronize? Do all of these people look like you? Do they speak the same language as you? Are their meals reflective of a culture unfamiliar to you, or perhaps a dish you always order at a restaurant? Do you see others as different than you, or are they just part of the makeup of a world where you live and move and have your being? 

Diversity is like going to a yarn shop and enjoying all the available colors, combinations and weights. Riding the bus in DC was an exercise in the same kind of experience. Now I know the conglomeration of different people in Walmart, a yarn shop, the car wash, the church, or the golf course. I can appreciate them as being as different as snowflakes, yet all coming together to make drifts and snowmen. 

Above all, I give thanks to God for all the diversity in the world. Without it, it would be a very dull place. 

Image: Blue blanket, property of author. 

Linda Ryan is a mentor for an Education for Ministry group, an avid reader, a Baroque and Renaissance music lover, and a fumbling knitter. She keeps the blog Jericho’s Daughter. She lives with her three cats near Phoenix, Arizona.

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