I love you guys. Yesterday when I posted about hoping for another thousand, to get a matching thousand, I was hopeful. Today I’m inspired- and truthfully, a little stunned by the collective power of knitters. I was so shocked at the outpouring of decency and goodwill and willingness to help others, that last night I was almost ashamed. I don’t know why, but I sat there looking at the donations and kept thinking that I don’t deserve this help, and that I’m way too ordinary, and that if any of you really knew how terrible I am at riding my bike you’d never count me among your own, and I almost posted "Guys. It’s too much. Please stop. I can never, ever live up to this." and a friend stopped me. I was getting weepy on the phone with her, and she said something important.
She said "Nobody is giving you anything. You have agreed to do your best with fundraising and riding, and in exchange they’ve agreed to do their best to make things a a little better for people with HIV/AIDS who are coming to the end of their lives. It’s all kindness Steph. It’s all kindness. Don’t you dare stop them. It’s more kindness in the world, and you have nothing to live up to, and for s**t’s sake. Can’t the world use all the nice it can get? "
I don’t know if I totally believed her, but I didn’t post. I just let it happen, and today, knitters are still doing something amazing, and I just don’t know what to say, or what to do, or how to ever thank you, or how to tell you that someone who is one of the crappiest riders going to Montreal is now the top fundraiser for the whole rally… or how to tell you about the look on peoples faces when I explain that it’s knitters. It’s just how knitters are… and how much what you’re doing is changing the idea of who cares about this, and how crazy wonderful knitters are, and how I think it’s because you’re knitters that you do this.
I’ve been telling people for years that knitting changes your brain. Changes the way you think and teaches important lessons, and that one of them is the idea of cumulative action. Cumulative action is the idea that small actions aren’t unimportant if they are combined with other small actions. It’s a lesson that not everyone learns. Some people go their whole lives thinking that unless you can do something big, there’s no point in doing anything at all… and they have trouble seeing how one small action in their life could ripple and matter. They can’t see the possibility, and so the don’t do what they could. The problems seem too large for a small action to change anything.
Here’s the thing though, there are no knitters like that. None. Knitting teaches you that one small action does matter. That one small action, like knitting a stitch, isn’t unimportant. It’s vital. One small action repeated many times is a sweater. Or a shawl. Or a pair of socks to hold the feet of someone you love, and that idea? The concept of cumulative action? It makes knitters the most remarkable fundraisers of all. Other groups, they have to rely on the part of their community that understands that… knitters? Our whole group gets it. Our whole group sees that one small thing – put together with many other things can create something enormous, and wonderful, and magical.
Why are knitters like this? Because they knit, and they have learned everything they need to know about little things mattering.
I love you all, and I don’t know how to thank you. I guess I’ll just do my best, and hope that whatever small gestures I can make really matter.
Fondly, and with great affection and awe,
(PS. Lise, who clearly has this whole giving-knitter thing down, has very, very generously offered her amazing Tread Softly as a bid item. It’s a gorgeous beaded circular shawl, and she’s willing to let it go in exchange for a donation. As before, if her beautiful work is meant to be yours, please send an email to stephanieATyarnharlotDOTca, and I’ll let you know if it’s your destiny. You’ll make the donation, and Lise will mail it to you, because darn it, she’s nice like that.)
(PPS. Did I say I love you?)