I use ropes to climb, teach, solve problems, drag deer, make little men…you get the picture. I’ve bought ropes separately, by the foot and by the roll. Ropes are not unusual in my world; but hanging on my door with a note? Can you say “Stalker”…. I mean, my brother, Gerald has a story where he comes home and finds cut flowers and a pair of scissors stuck in his door. As it turns out the note was to this effect,
“To: knot tying expert!
Lonnie, In about 1989 a girl at Auburn tied this knot on the two ends of my Auburn workout sweats top. I’ve left it tied with the knot all these years. Do you know what knot this is? There are two of them tied on this line.”
Then it was signed I’d seen the knot. I’d used the knot. In fact I’d just taught that knot to a couple of fellow challenge course facilitators on the Thursday before. It’s that little knot you use when you make lanyards out of those plastic laces. The actual name of the lanyard material or the art form is Scoubidou, but here in the US they are called Boondoggle. The knot in question is called a square stitch. The cool part of the whole thing is that the square stitch is usually tied with two independent lines that cross each other. Tying from the two ends of a single line is not the same as it is using two separate lines. He’d spent some time being able to reproduce the product he’d received. He’d tied it in a way I’d never done it before.
What got me to thinking in “article mode” was the fact that this guy had a knot. A knot he’d kept for twenty plus years. Someone had knotted his sweats in 1989 and in 2011 he still had the knot and was even reproducing it; but he couldn’t put a name on it. Lots of people are walking around with unidentified things putting their sweats in a knot or their knickers in a twist, as the case may be. We all get knotted up from time to time—we get all knotted up over different things. What do we do with our knots? I think it’s important to be able to identify the knots. There is an old diagnostic adage with states, “Name the beast to tame the beast”. It is necessary to know what we are dealing with; but I’m not sure I want the name bad enough to keep the knot in my sweats for two decades. Did they say that to hurt me? Did they do that to hurt me? Why would they after all these years? I can’t believe…; It seems to me that the knots that are left tied and wondered about tend to get set. Then they don’t come out very easy. Are we afraid to take them out because then we can’t remember what was done to us or exactly how it was done to us? Or if we forget how it was done do we invent new ways to do the same thing to others? Sounds like unfinished business to me. Paul warns against unfinished business in several places. “Owe no man any thing but to love.” (Romans 13); “Do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4). It also sounds like a perpetual cycle to me. Paul talks about repaying evil for evil as well. (Romans 12).
Not sure what has us all knotted up. I was teaching a bunch of campers how to tie knots one time. Tim came over and said, “I like to know the purpose of the knot before I learn to tie it. It helps me remember how to tie it when I have an application for it.” If the knot doesn’t have a purpose why is it still there? That’s a good point. Maybe rather than learning to tie it we should learn to untie it. After all sometimes it’s really not a knot. Sometimes it’s just tangles. There are knots in tangles but they aren’t there intentionally. Reproducing a tangle doesn’t do much good. Untying a tangle frees the rope. A free rope can be used for tying knots for a purpose not for keeping knots on purpose.