A Knitter died and appeared at the Pearly Gates, hoping to gain entrance.
Her guardian angel met her there and carefully removed a shawl that was laid across her shoulders – a surprise, because she never had known it was there.
She noticed other souls-in-waiting also were wearing shawls, all in various conditions: some glowing and colorful, others subdued, still others ragged and torn.
As she looked at her own shawl, she saw that it was full of holes, made of flimsy, thin yarn rather than sturdy worsted, and a drab mustard color rather than one of the beautiful, glowing colors of so many of the others.
“What will you do with that?” she asked her angel.
The angel smiled and told her, “This is your gift to God, the work of your life.”
“Oh, dear,” she said, saddened. “It sure doesn’t look like much.”
The angel smiled again, patted her hand, and led her forward toward the throne. There, she saw other souls with their angels.
Each time a guardian angel presented a shawl to the Lord, He smiled, stroked the shawl, and said, “Well done, good and faithful servant – welcome home!”
As the Knitter and her guardian angel moved closer, each shawl seemed more glorious than the last, each soul more deserving than she of a place near the throne. The Knitter’s heart sank with each step forward.
Finally, though, they stood at the foot of the throne. He Who is Love smiled and enfolded the Knitter in waves of grace as the angel handed Him the shawl.
Then God laughed.
Not a laugh of derision or disdain – a laugh of the very purest joy, as He opened the shawl wide to see it better. The Knitter looked up. She could see the glow of His grace shining on – and through – her shawl. The pitiful, flimsy, hole-y thing was transformed into something magnificent: the fine yarn had turned golden, holding together holes, forming glorious lacework.
“You see this now, dear one, as I see it. I see your love. I see the way you have tried to be your best. Each of these holes marks a time when you have picked yourself up and continued on in faith, hope, and love. Each strand marks a time you have accepted My gifts of grace. Do you see now, how beautiful your life is to Me? Well done, dear Knitter. Welcome home.”
This story was passed on to me by a veteran knitter; one who has made many a prayer shawl and who tries to glorify God by love, even in the dropped stitches and tangled skeins of her life.