There is nothing more annoying than tangled thread. I like to pull it from the centre so that the ball of yarn stays put without tumbling head over heels to an inaccessible place under a chair, or worse – wound around the back leg of the dog.

Sometimes the thread comes at first try, but more often it is hidden in the middle of a large clump that has to be sorted laboriously and wound around the outside.

Is it just me? Am I missing something here?

Or else you motor along with speedy fingers creating a soporific rhythm and mind in happy detachment from the emerging pattern – when you’re suddenly brought back with a jolt to find the yarn in a hopeless tangle.

I’m an expert with this scenario for several reasons:      

  • Practise
  • Yarn is too expensive to waste
  • I dislike darning in extra ends
  • I won’t be beaten

So with patience, persistence and gentle teasing out of threads the problem is usually resolved.

The same thing can happen with relationships. Suddenly, without warning we find ourselves hurt by another, or discover we have hurt them.  Sometimes both.  And as with the tangled yarn, things come to a halt.

This can be tricky. It is even possible to ignore the problem and pretend things are OK.  But sooner or later cracks will break through the whitewash.

St Benedict understood that wherever people come together there will be crossed wires. Always pragmatic, experience had taught him that peace between brothers (and sisters) is unlikely to be the default position. Relations have to be worked at, often needing painful perseverance, forgiveness and reconciliation.  And the starting point must be to create peace in our own hearts.

‘Do not give a false peace’.  The Rule of St Benedict 4:25