I heard something a couple of days ago that struck me as a great lesson for how to find and make beauty in hard times.

The woman who offered this piece of wisdom is a devoted crocheter. She and I and several other people are part of a Good Grief Network 10-Step group, discussing ways of accepting, dealing with, and acting through our distress about climate change.

That night we were talking about how we deal with uncertainty. The woman worked on her crocheting as the meeting progressed. At one point, she spoke of how she deals with uncertainty when it comes to deciding how to proceed with whatever it is she wants to make next.

If you can’t get the good yarn you want, she said, you don’t stop crocheting. You go to Walmart and buy the cheap yarn.

This struck me as a great lesson for any crisis or challenge in life. When the ways or the products or the services we rely on—and maybe think we can’t do without—are unavailable to us, how do we respond? Do we get grumpy and find someone to blame? Do we throw up our hands in despair and declare that we’re powerless to do anything at all? Do we weep over what we cannot get? Or do we look over the choices that are available to us, pick the ones we like the best—and make something beautiful of them?

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

MORE RADICAL JOY REVEALED

  • Merlin 186735474 80396bb6 34d0 4f2e 940b 85fba2bbff9a SuperJumbo

A New Coat for a Venerable Tree

A beautiful 140-year-old hemlock at the artist Frederic Church’s estate and museum, Olana, in Hudson, New York, died a few months ago of natural causes. Jean Shin, a sculptor who specializes in using cast-off objects [...]

  • Overland Park

The Beauty of Wounded Places

When we say a place is wounded, we mean it can no longer do what it once did. It is disabled. It’s a force of life that has fallen on hard times and is struggling [...]

More Revealed

SUBSCRIBE

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.