the hand of God


Knitting a Shark a Sweater

by: Dana Huffman

I was in church when a family came to sit in front of me. There was a mother, a father, and a young boy. On the young boys lap laid a stuffed shark and the shark appeared to be wearing a little sweater. Not just any sweater, a hand knit red sweater. It had to be hand knit because the sharks little fins fit through the fin holes perfectly and a bit of yarn was keeping the thing tied around it's neck (if sharks have necks). When I mentioned to the boy's mother how I admired the shark's sweater and asked her if she had made it, she said, "Yes. My son said that his shark gets cold when it has to go out."

I have been thinking about that shark's sweater. Why did it make me smile so? What was that sweater telling me? I think it was telling me that acts of love do not always need to "make sense." That shark didn't really need a sweater. The mother knew that and the boy probably knew it too. In response to the remark that a shark gets cold when he has to go out that mother could have said any number of things... "Here's an old sock, you can tie that around him." Or, "They don't make sweaters for sharks." Or "You know that shark is not real." No, this time the boys mother decided to respond in a way that was a bit whimsical, a bit unnecessary, time consuming, fantastical, and fun (for what knitter could not have fun knitting a shark a sweater. And who having knit a shark a sweater could not have fun watching him wear it?) I think that sweater is saying, sometimes it's nice to do something a little whimsical and tailor made for someone dear to you. It says, "I love you, reasonable or unreasonable!" And that is like God.

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