Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The second epistle to my friend

Dear Amy,

Hello again. I'm listening to "We must go/God of Justice" again. I never told you, but when I first heard this song at church one Sunday evening in Durham I loved it so much that I got up ridiculously early the next day and rushed to the cathedral shop to buy the cd before a doctor's appointment I had that morning. It was way out of my way, up a steep hill, but I had to have that song and it obviously wasn't on itunes music store or I didn't think of that. I must have been their first customer of the day and the sense of triumph when I found they had the cd. It was quite controversial in Durham, some people didn't like it, but revolutionary perhaps? I suppose Jesus always has been a revolutionary.

I saw your mum and dad (and Holly) yesterday, it was nice to see them. I'm now working on your red hoodie for you, finishing it. I couldn't bear the thought of it never being finished, after all that painstaking work you put into it, despite my pledge never to go near a boucle yarn! It is at once mindless and mindful knitting, each stitch needs a little attention and once I thought I'd dropped a stitch but it turned out just to be a spare squiggle from the row below. I remember all the times that happened to you, all the anxious stitch counting, the silence and the breath holding until we had ascertained whether it was a stitch or not. The yarn is so, so soft. Today I finished the sleeve increases, now I've got about 10 cm to do to get it to the length you wanted. Thank you for being so methodical, everything is written down, it's amazing.

My own projects aren't quite so brilliant. Well, the green jumper is finished, though I'm not convinced I'm that happy with it. Maybe it will grow on me? But the scarf I was making your mum, I can't decide if the yarn fits the pattern or not, and I can't find a pattern it does seem to fit or a gauge. It's all going wrong and feels wrong, I think it probably needs "time out" while I decide what to do. That marriage of the right yarn and the right pattern can be very tricky can't it?

On a totally other topic, not knitting related (yes, I can talk about other things!) I don't want you to be remembered as someone tragic or sad, because you really weren't, no, aren't (because the most important part of you still is, with Jesus). You were triumphant in your life here on earth, not I suspect in a way that many of those who go on about triumph and victory in the Christian life would recognise and understand, but in the true, real sense. You never gave in, never behaved like a victim, always tried to be as normal as possible and to make the most of everything. I know you hated it when people said how "brave" you were and all that, but it was true. You had true courage while you were here.

I miss you, not as much as the people who knew you longer I suspect, but no one else is ever going to replace you. For now our friendship is postponed, put on hold, and that hurts, but I'm glad that one day we'll both be friends again in the better place where we'll both be well. Then I'll challenge you to a race round and round the throne, in and out of the river of life, up and down the main street where all those trees are, the ones with the healing for the nations. I'm homesick and Amysick. When will my exile be over?

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