Recently, a dear friend of mine, Maeve, visited Austin. I often think about the origination of our friendship. We worked together at a coffee shop in college, but it was when we decided to meet up and knit together (because she wanted to learn) that our friendship really grew. We met nearly every week, and talked about our lives: my life as a newlywed and recent-grad, her life as a student and girlfriend of her now-husband, and we talked about Jesus' work in our lives. And we knit.
When she visited Austin, it was much the same. This time, we shared about our marriages and work and friends and church families. As we stitched our projects, we listened and shared and encouraged. (For full disclosure, we also toured the botanical gardens, took silly photos, enjoyed the warm weather, and ate barbecue and Tex-Mex). And I wore the necklace she knitted for me last year. Oh, it was so good.
Shared interests lead to shared stories lead to lives intertwined as we encourage each other in Christ.
Two other sweet souls here in Austin (Jessica and Molly!) are dear friends and knitting companions. As we share in the excitement of almost-completed projects and remembering new techniques, we also share in the excitement of larger joys, hardships, and triumphs in life.
Maybe when the hands are busy, the words come easier? Hearts open a bit more. As our hands act and produce beauty, that activity and productivity leads to refinement in our hearts as we talk about the good and the hard parts of life. When we talk, the Holy Spirit enables us to encourage one another and be vulnerable with one another and then, you have a sweater/scarf/pair of socks. But you also have soul sisters and a changed heart.
Fall feels like a number of transitions, one right after the other. We are now bridging into late fall, with lots of frost in the mornings, first sightings of bare trees, and darker, cozier evenings at home. Of course, there is talk of Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon too, along with early preparations for those. I do tend to be swept by the momentum of this season, if I'm not careful. I'll admit that Christmas music accompanies us throughout the day sometimes, and I've already done most of our shopping, but I do want to be intentional to savor the almost-but-not-yet. To not wish away November and it's baring of trees in favor of the glow of Thanksgiving and Christmastime. There is great beauty and contentment in this month, as well. I don't want to miss it.
We've taken to a regular "cozy hike," as we've termed it. A nearly wooded path, my favorite spot for fall color, a wagon, an eager toddler, a cozy blanket, and snacks. I look for the bright red leaves, since those are a favorite for both of us. And we also look for acorns and pinecones, treasures on the ground.
I'm typically in a rush to wish away the hot days of summer, to exchange them for cozy days, sweater season, cool mornings. I'm an optimist, and that optimism frequently couples itself with being future minded. Constantly looking forward with hope, but also sometimes looking forward with misplaced longing that can inhibit me from being present. But this past weekend, the events of both days were lovely, and being present felt easy and good.