Somehow angels knit a whole new life for this mom.
Posted in , Aug 18, 2011
Zach breezed in from school and headed straight for his room. “Tons of calculus homework,” he called back to me.
Fifteen is sure different from grade school, I thought. Back then, Zach used to tell me all about his day, from start to finish. Soon he would be out on his own. What would I do then? Knitting projects couldn’t fill all my time.
I sat down at my computer and clicked through email. The monthly newsletter from the Piedmont Yarn & Apparel shop popped up. I noticed a help wanted ad at the bottom.
“Someone to help out a few afternoons a week,” I mumbled out loud. “Apply by calling the shop.” I’d never thought about a job in retail in my life. Today it sounded fun.
What are you thinking? I asked myself when I clicked on the ad again later that night. You don’t have any experience. You haven’t held any kind of job in years!
But the idea wouldn’t let me go. Finally one afternoon I got up the gumption to call. “Come in Friday for an interview,” the owner said. “Bring your resume.”
Resume! I thought as I hung up. I knew this was impossible! What did I have to put on a resume? The knitting circles I belonged to? Helping out in some of Zach’s classrooms? I’ll be laughed right out of the store, I thought as I typed out the few qualifications I could think of. “You’re gonna be fabulous tomorrow, sweetheart,” my husband, Rod, said.
“Yeah,” Zach said. “You know everything there is to know about knitting. Who could be better for this job than you?” That gave me an idea. What better proof of experience did I have than my own knitting? It would be nice to have something impressive to show at my interview.
I arrived at the yarn shop early. As I sat waiting for the owner to come out, I almost looked forward to getting turned down. Then I wouldn’t have anything more to worry about.
Come on, Lisa, you have to try, I told myself. Your life is changing. You need to change with it. I glanced around to take my mind off my nerves, and noticed all the beautiful yarn and the customers looking at patterns. I always loved my own trips to the shop to browse. If I worked here I could help people find just the right things they needed, I thought. Maybe I didn’t want to be turned away after all.
The owner, Bente, introduced herself. I handed her the work history I’d put together. Then, inspired by Zach, I pulled out some knitting I’d recently finished: three pairs of socks and two sweaters. “This is from a Hanne Falken-berg kit,” I said.
“I’ve never seen one of these kits completed,” Bente said, examining them. “When can you start?” I’d thought the interview was hard. Now I had to handle the actual job.
On my first day Bente gave me a notebook full of policies and procedures that covered everything from opening the shop to placing a special order. She trained me on the computer and even let me ring up a few sales. This isn’t so bad, I thought. As long as Bente is helping at closing. At closing time Bente handed me a set of keys. “You’ll open up tomorrow by yourself,” she said.
“What if I mess up?” I asked, following her out to the parking lot.
“Then we’ll work it out. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”
That night after dinner I couldn’t stop my mind racing. Even knitting didn’t help. It just made me think about all I had to do tomorrow. I should never have applied for this job. I’m better at being a mom.
But my son was growing up, I reminded myself. And that was that.
The next morning I arrived at the shop early. I gulped when my first customer came in. “Can I help you?” I prayed she didn’t need help that was beyond my expertise.
The woman handed me a bundle of yarn and needles. “I can’t remember how to bind off. Can you show me?”
“Sure,” I said. Advanced computer tasks were beyond me, but knitting was fun! I showed the woman how to knit one stitch, knit a second stitch and then pull the first stitch over the second one. “Ta-da!” I announced.
The customer left smiling. Then someone else came to the counter. “I’ll take these,” she said, laying out yarn.
I talked myself through every step on the computer. I missed one but didn’t freeze the system.
By the end of the shift I was exhausted, but I felt useful. And I had been surrounded by yarn and other knitters all afternoon—pure heaven. I thanked God for the angel that nudged me about the job and wouldn’t let me quit when things seemed impossible.
Zach heads off to college this fall. Meanwhile I’ll be ringing up customers and answering questions about knitting. I love my afternoons working in the knitting shop and couldn’t imagine my week without them. Somehow angels have knit together a whole new life for me.
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