In the month that my husband and I have been in Cactus, I've gotten a reputation as a crocheter in our local church. This reputation is well-founded, because every Sunday School lesson, every Sunday service, and every Wednesday Bible Study, I am crocheting a scarf.
While to some this may seem rude or even outright disrespectful of the speaker & God, I do not crochet out of spite or in order to distract myself.
Why I crochet: I am able to focus on the lesson better when my hands are occupied. Without something to keep my hands busy, I fidget terribly. In the past, I would play with my "fidget rock," a smooth rock to keep my hands busy, but I would often drop it or misplace it in my purse. Keeping my hands busy helps me to still my mind & not chase rabbit trails through the Bible (since a Study Bible, while wonderful, can change my focus from the speaker to the footnotes & side articles).
How it effects others: I let my teachers, pastors, and fellow church-members know that I fidget unless I have something to occupy my hands. By being upfront about what I am doing & why I am doing it, people don't have to wonder at my actions instead of paying attention to the speaker. Most of my work is done in my lap so it's not a huge distraction for others.
What blessing does it bring: My hobby gives me something else to look
forward to about Sundays &
Wednesdays. Most days, I do not crochet at all. Other days, I may just
crochet in the evening while my husband & I watch a movie. Because I
am connecting an activity that I like with church services that I like, I end up
really looking forward to the services & the conversations that
How I'm not distracted: I am doing simple repetitive stitches so I can put down my project to look up a Bible passage and so I don't need to be counting stitches. It helps me push out mental distractions & focus on the speaker's message.
Why I want to keep it up: Most importantly, I feel like this is a community-building activity. I
am a shy person and it is a daunting task to begin to get to know an
entire congregation. Since I started crocheting, I have met other
crocheters, knitters, and sewers in the church. We are talking, not just
about the weather, but also about our hobbies & our progress in
them. Because of this, I am learning names & starting friendships.
While people are nice when they don't know my hobbies, I feel valued
when I am asked about the progress of my scarf & how well I am
When a friend of mine moved into a new neighborhood & got a puppy, she noticed that her neighbors talked more with her after she got the puppy. It's like people are waiting for an invitation to begin meaningful conversations.
I challenge you to look for ways of going beyond small talk. Find ways to learn more about new people & share about your own interests.