I was using up all kinds of yarn I have, so I decided to a striped sweater. It's made with about 25 different yarns, and I had a lot of fun doing it. It looks better with a long shirt on underneath, but it's a warm sweater and it's hot out today, so I just took the picture with that. I probably won't wear it until the winter.
But on to the point at hand. There is something really satisfying about accomplishing something with your hands, of producing something with your own effort. We feel it when we give a room a thorough cleaning, or when we make a scrumptious meal, or when we plant a garden. We feel it when we needlepoint, or scrapbook, or woodwork.
And I think there's a reason for that. God is a creative God and He is an orderly God. In nature, the law of entropy tells us that things go from a state of order to state of increasing disorder. It's impossible for it to go the other way. And so when we intervene, and create order out of disorder, we're participating in God's creation, in a way (I don't mean to be blasphemous, but you know what I mean, right?). When we take a disordered room and clean it, we're actually doing a godly thing. When we take different bits of yarn and create something useful out of it, we're participating in a godly endeavour.
But here's the problem: all these godly endeavours are slowly being drowned out in our society. A century ago, when most people had the experience of living on a farm, they knew what it was to work the land. I don't mean to glorify that life, but I do think working with the soil teaches you something that working on a computer doesn't.
They also made their own clothes, and cooked from scratch all the time. We don't.
Even our hobbies are increasingly becoming technified. We watch TV, blog (!), surf the internet, or play videogames. These things are all fun, but what do you have to show for it later? Maybe one of the reasons we increasingly feel dissatisfied with life, and yearn for a vacation, is because we don't get the true satisfaction that comes from doing something with our hands enough.
Maybe if we took more time during the day to turn off the computer and the TV and pick up a crochet hook while we listen to music, or talk to our kids, or if we ventured outside and weeded a garden bed while talking to Jesus, we'd feel better about our lives and we'd have less of a need to escape.
Modern life is both a blessing and a curse. All that we have is a blessing. The ease with which we can meet our basic needs is such a relief compared to what the most of the world lives like today, or what our own culture lived like a century and a half ago. But it's a curse, too, because it takes us that step away from the works of our hands.
So let me encourage you today: take up a hobby. Create something. Work with your hands. It doesn't even have to be good; just do something! It gets you in touch with God's creativity, I think, and it lends a rhythm and a beauty to our lives.
What do you like to do? What relaxes you? Have you ever had that experience of feeling dissatisfied, largely because you haven't been creative or productive with your hands for a while? Tell me about it, because I'm still working out my thoughts on the subject!