Field Notes: Raggedy This and Raggedy That!

Beba SchlottmannGoing Places, Other Writings, Recommendations, Uncategorized 2 Comments

I remember as a child how much I enjoyed playing with Barbies. They were my favorite childhood toy, but I also remember hugging the “life” out of a Raggedy Ann doll I had. At one point I even dressed up as Raggedy Ann for a play at church. The one thing I found fascinating was the red hair (or red yarn wig, rather). Raggedy Ann was the closest thing to a clown without the creepiness. I’m sure you agree…

Speaking of yarn, I had never tried my hand at knitting or crocheting before because it is one of those things I did not have an interest in. However, I can appreciate those who have a talent for and the patience to knit beautiful creations. For example, my mother-in-law is someone who is very good at knitting, and I always looked forward to getting a new hand made scarf from her at Christmas time. She used to knit coasters, dish rags, pot handles, purses, hats, and more. Even my sons enjoyed getting a new scarf and hat from grandma during the holidays!

When I was in South Korea, a friend told me about someone who owned a knitting shop and gave knitting classes. I still don’t know why I signed up for lessons, but I am so glad I did! In just two days, I learned valuable lessons about life that go far beyond threading and looping. I want to share those with you here:

Chasing life requires patience.

Doing the things we want to do and living well amid suffering requires an enormous amount of patience with the process, with others, and with ourselves. Just like with knitting, we must learn the art of being still and working slowly.

Chasing life requires hard work.

Life is hard. But just because it is hard doesn’t mean we give up living. Laziness and lack of motivation do not produce the desired results. Knitting had me close to giving up many times, but I worked hard and gave it my all. The result was a less than perfect child’s scarf, but a completed one I can be proud of saying I did myself.

Chasing life requires forgiveness.

I don’t know how many mistakes I made trying to knit a simple, small scarf, but there were many. I thought my teacher would make me toss it out or start a new one — or maybe even send me out as a lost cause. Instead, she kindly and patiently showed me where I went wrong, and then helped me fix the problem. She would often say, “It’s okay, it can be fixed!” Forgiveness works like that. You see were you went wrong, then you repent and fix what you can.

Chasing life requires trying again.

Giving up because you are sick, grieving, or suffering is not a good excuse! You need to pick up the pieces that can be salvaged, and try living to the best of your ability. There is no such thing as losing; there is only trying, over and over again. If something does not work, then you try something else. But you never, ever give up!

Chasing life requires celebrating small successes.

Taking baby steps is how we chase life! If we are not able to run, we walk. If we can no longer walk, we walk by the hand of someone we trust. If we are bed ridden, then we write, talk, and sing. We celebrate good memories, share inspiring stories, spend time with our loved ones, and appreciate the little things in life that mean the most to us.

I gave my finished scarf to my niece (I didn’t think of taking a picture), and was surprised by my knitting teacher when she gifted me a beautiful scarf she knit for me as a going away gift (photo below). I was touched by her gesture, and thankful for the experience to learn something new. I have never met a more patient teacher! You can follow her at

How are you chasing life today?

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