Rule of Five

Duluth has a way of growing on you. At first I thought the bridge was ungodly ugly, and tried to think of various ways a concerned municipality could circumvent this metal monstrosity.

But a funny thing happened as we drove and walked around Duluth – I started to like the bridge.

I liked how often it goes up and down, I liked the little building next to it and the lighthouses at the end of the canal piers.

And I began to actually appreciate the skeleton of the structure itself. So my “rule of fives” worked this time.

I’ve long thought that if we allow ourselves 5 of anything – 5 days in a new place, 5 dates with a new guy, 5 repeats of a new stitch pattern – that should be long enough to determine our true feelings about something.

In general, we’re too quick to make judgments (I thought long and hard before writing that last sentence, don’t judge it too quickly.) Something that can make us pause and live through something for a little bit of time is all for the good.

Most decisions don’t need to be made as quickly as we’ve come like to think. We’ve had decades of ‘split second decision making’ being touted as a positive character trait, but I tend to think that most important decisions slowly evolve from a set of facts – that is, if we give them time.

That’s how my most successful designs have transpired – I have a spark of an idea, I don’t lock myself into ONE direction with the idea, but work it out in a few different scenarios until something just feels right.

When I do make a snap judgment, there’s as good a chance as not that I will have to go back and revise it (I do a lot of revision) When I have the luxury of working through something slowly, it actually goes much quicker in the long run. That’s irony.

Right now I’m creating a design for a shawl for VK, which is due soon so I’d better get finished, and after a few false starts I devised what I think will be a good and fun-to-knit design which addresses what most folks find objectionable when working intarsia.

Of course, I may be wrong – but so far it’s fun for ME to knit!

Gerry’s cancer is turning out to be the same way. The initial knee jerk reaction is that it sucks, it’s awful and there’s NO good that can come from it.

Well the first two things are certainly true. It DOES suck, it IS awful, and my mind alternatively reels and is numb when I consider the outcome possibilities.

But after living with this for 5 months – as of July it will be 5 months since we became aware that something more serious than a ‘bad back’ was probably at the heart of Gerry’s constant pain – I’m seeing different sides to this whole journey.

A friend sent this quote to me, I’ve begun using it at the end of my emails, and it speaks volumes to my current state of mind:

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The stars we’ve been seeing lately are the hundreds (yes, hundreds – we’re blown away) of folks who are writing with good wishes and donations.

Some folks apologize that they can only make a small donation – or no donation – but I write back to tell them that their good wishes and thoughts are the best gift we could receive.

Having said that, I can’t deny that as the worry of running through our savings to cover accommodation expenses* while Gerry’s at the Mayo Clinic diminishes, I find myself much more able to focus on what truly is important in life:

  • Making sure the kids are okay
  • Finding small moments of joy that all of us can remember (or not…)
  • Concentrating on my own work so the mortgage is covered
  • Creating private time for myself and for Gerry (together and individually…)
  • Filling each day with as much grace as possible!
  • Teaching Gerry to knit (whether he likes it or not)
  • Getting Gerry Better!

So a very heartfelt Thank You to
all of you who are helping us – either with good thoughts & wishes, small treasures (like ice cream – thank you Beth; and chocolate Buddhas – thank you Amy!) or financial gifts.

Please know that you’re allowing us to get through this as a family – and have relieved one of the great emotional burdens that we are carrying right now.

We are humbled and heartened by your magnificent response.

*Mayo does Bone Marrow Transplants as an out patient procedure, but Gerry MUST stay in a hotel in the immediate area. Roughly 50% of the recipients end up as in-patients for a brief time, but most of the time we’ll be going to the clinic every day for chemo or a doctor visit.

That’s why we’ll have to pay for 6-8 weeks of hotel coverage. Folks have asked about this, and I was confused about it at first, too!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!