This weekend, I came to a point that required short rows in the Fireside Cardigan I am knitting for our little one. The pattern instructions said to pick up and knit around the right front, back and left front edges before beginning the one-by-one rib edging around the sweater. No specific number of stitches was designated, so long as an odd number was achieved, and I was to place a marker (for the beginning of short rows) at the 76th stitch on the right side.
Only that 76th stitch did not occur in the middle of the back collar... it was off to the left side of the sweater near the shoulder. The instruction didn't make sense, but (nonetheless) I decided to trust the pattern. I could see the short rows were creating a wider collar on one side than the other, so three rows in, I tinked the short rows out, re-read the instructions and began again. Still, another 6 rows into the 8 row instruction, it became painfully clear that the designer had intended those short rows to begin at the back center. (So I tinked out the 6 rows again.)
Deciding that the designer must have picked up 152 stitches around her sweater, I placed the marker at the center of my own version and began again the short rows. What it created was a rise in the back side of the collar which folds down, evenly resting on both sides before the buttoned placket.
I think sometimes we can be blinded by simple instructions. I see this when in my own life (and sometimes in the lives of my Christian friends), we hold so tight to the letter of what is written that we forget that what the Designer intended to create is grace, mercy and love. How often I have missed seeing an opportunity to create goodness because I have been too focused on the words to see the intent.
And I love that I can tink back when what I'm creating is less than what I hoped it would be.