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    2018 Joint Winner 1 – At the heart: A prayer pilgrimage… with a difference

    2018 Joint Winner 1 – At the heart: A prayer pilgrimage… with a difference
    June 30, 2018 Judith Simms

    The theme for the 2018 Competition was At the heart…, and two entries were deemed equally worthy of first prize.

    At the heart:
    A prayer pilgrimage… with a difference.

    Bowing my head over the needles and yarn,
    I offered a prayer for the one who would receive it –
    my first prayer shawl.
    Slowly and carefully
    I began the casting on, 1,2,3,4,
    the needles dipping rhythmically,
    in, out, in, out until, 62, 63, 64, 65!
    A quick check –  yes, 65.

    So began the task that I had set myself.
    It was to be a journey not measured in miles,
    but in inches.
    Nevertheless, I was embarking upon a true pilgrimage.
    There would be pauses on the way and breaks for refreshment.
    I had no idea how long it would take, as,
    some days there would be great progress
    whilst others there would be virtually none.
    However, I did know that, at the heart, and
    woven into every stitch,
    would be prayer.

    Now and again I stopped and held the work
    and prayed.
    I asked that the one who would hold it,
    cuddle it, wear it, even cling to it,
    might experience a special peace and calm,
    and know that, at the heart,
    was not only a labour of love,
    but a desire that they would feel
    enfolded in the love of God

    Growth was slow.
    64 inches a long way off.
    When would I ever finish it.
    Needle- in-yarn-round-and-off

    Each time I took it up
    more prayer was added.
    As it grew I often paused
    and silently blessed it.

    The soothing actions kept me going.
    I felt steeped in prayer and
    experienced a wonderful peace.
    I had a deep sense of God’s presence
    as I continued building up the fabric.

    Needle-in-yarn-round-and-off became my silent mantra.
    Hundreds of times over and over, rhythmically repetitive,
    until the day came when the rhythm changed.
    Needle-in-yarn-round-and-off-and-off-and off!
    65 times!

    As I held it up I felt like rejoicing, and I did.
    I prayed with it held close to my cheek.
    I let it run through my hands
    as I prayed,

    Bless the one who will receive it, Lord.
    Envelop them with peace and tranquillity.
    May they know that this
    humble gift is prayerfully offered,
    and that,
    at the heart…
    is love.


    © Margaret Doughty, 2018


    Download this winning entry as a pdf here
    Copyright remains with the writers in each case.