The good you see before you

I was listening to a youtube video today while knitting a shawl (a shawl that fills me with panic again on every row, because it’s only getting larger. It started by casting on eleven stitches, but it’s well over three hundred now, and I’ve got many, many rows to go… Whoops, I’ll start over.)

While knitting a shawl, I was listening to a Youtube video in which a man testified about being kidnapped and tortured in Columbia, and how at his lowest moment, his conscience was illuminated and he had an intimate mystical experience that resulted in his conversion.  I tend to listen to these kind of testimonials with a critical ear because of all the iffy ones I heard in years past (bunker, anyone?) but nothing in this triggered my “You’ve got to be kidding me” meter. Plus, it didn’t fill me with dread.

In the middle of it, he says that “grace comes to us today.” He then explains (and this is a rough paraphrase) “Tomorrow’s grace comes tomorrow. The grace wasn’t there yesterday, otherwise you’d already have it. Today you have the opportunities God gives you today.”

The shawl I’m knitting is for someone else, someone I think might need a hug because she’s having a difficult time and should know she’s not in it alone. It’s the opportunity God gave me today. (And tomorrow, and maybe the day after, because this thing needs a lot of stitches…)

Walter Cizek said in He Leadeth Me that the will of God is doing the work He puts in front of you. There’s no shortage of need in the world. So if you’re wondering what God’s will is in any given situation, he says, you do the work He’s put in front of you. Cizek makes it sound simple. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to do in the situation God put you in, but then I think it’s important to act on a well-formed conscience and to act in a spirit of love.

In the video, Marino Restrepo also says we’re responsible for the gifts of self we don’t give to others, that God acts through us to give good things to others, and when we refuse (or just don’t notice, or put it off and off and off) we’re responsible for the good we didn’t do. In the past I’ve ignored those little urges, and then I haven’t been able to make it up again.

I’m not much for “New Year’s Resolutions,” but if you are, here’s one for you — every day, do one good thing you see in front of you to do. It doesn’t have to be much. It just has to be done in love and because it needs to be done.


  1. Ken Rolph

    ” It started by casting on eleven stitches, but it’s well over three hundred now”

    Must be a very big penguin!

    1. philangelus

      It’s the one that battles Godzilla in the upcoming movie.

  2. Normandie

    Lovely essay, Jane. Thank you.