Psalm 88

Well well! The exhibition is now on the wall (I know, I'm a last-minuter, but it doesn't mean I haven't been working all along) and I am in the care of eldest son, who calls himself "ctrl-malt-delete"; and he is accordingly dab hand with the home brew, and brews like a Trappist monk. Under its influence, I've never read 'Twas the night before Christmas' to the kiddies with such animation before! Super-beery-gran!

I have now set up the exhibition and tied 60 separate knots to get the whole thing to hang together, which was difficult since I cut my thumb badly on the train in the way; God telling me to read books and not sew for a few days, obviously.

And so, where are we.... ah yes Psalm 88. And 89. They are joined at the hip, these two, and thereby hangs a tale.

Ps 88 was in some ways easy - that feeling of being cut off from God and friends - it's all hopeless. This really is my comfort zone in psychological terms, and my thoughts about the worthlessness of my work and it all going nowhere seemed like just another verse of Ps 88. So I decided I needed to do some crocheting and burn it (this is NFE - Normal For Embroiderers). But it needed to be not any old burning, but burning resulting in nice little beads at the end of the frazzled bits, and only certain synthetics will do this - which meant some especially good string I have, only it was too thick, so I had to reduce it from 3 ply to 2 ply... look this is WHY all this stuff has taken me a year. I decided we'd have some malevolent underlayer of red, with dark stuff floating over the top of it, and so out came the dissolvable fabric.... again, NFE. But when the dissovable fabric dissolved, leaving the stitching I wanted, it all shrank somewhat, and the thing just seemed not to be working at all (the psalm really acting itself out), and so I had a second go with dissolving stuff and thought this attempt much better, and I was about to cut up the first and use it to apply to the second, then... this was an Abraham moment, and my hand was stayed, as an angel said that the first one was fine, and not only that, but the second one would do to cut  up for something else (we don't waste anything, we embroiderers). And so here is Psalm 88 looking malevolent and shrunken, and with an opening at the side and not the middle, as I couldn't bear to cut through the twisted burnt stuff.

But wait! Inside this pocket is a soft dark grey velvet lining, from a velvet manufacturer in Yorks that is now razed to the ground sadly. But it seemed to me that when there is grief to be endured, it is best not to hurry it along, but to stay with it and live through the winter with the hand in the comforting velvetty pocket. It wasn't the first velvetty pocket - eldest son hated playing football so I made him velvetty pockets in his shorts so he could keep his hands warm while he lurked at the edge of the pitch during sports lessons in his schooldays; I know - fond mum! He's much more in his element with his brewing tubs.

The Abraham moment
Psalm 88 is unique in not having an up-turn of mood at the end of it; there is no hope offered here, but I think it is a psalm that is read very much by people feeling like the psalmist did. Thank goodness for it. Don't you just hate unrelenting cheerfulness? Like a diet of supermarket jingly jangly music. They say (or "research shows that") if we don't hear sad music, we don't develop so well emotionally, we are not prepared for life's sadnesses; so there's a real wisdom in this psalm being here, and I rather suspect that it does a lot of good.

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