"God knew that we were going to need to pick up the dimes, and so He gave us fingernails. He knew that twilights displayed in blue, apricot, and battle gray would be entirely astonishing and beyond us, and so He gave us eye that can see in color. He could have made all food quite nourishing, but which tasted like wadded up newspaper and soaked in machine oil. Instead He gave us the tastes of watermelon, pecans, oatmeal stout, buttered corn, apples, fresh brea, grilled sirloin, and twenty-five-year-old scotch. And He of course knew that we were going to need to thank Him, and so He gave us hearts and minds."
hands. Ever since my drawing teacher showed me how to trace my hand with a via-vis marker under a transparent sheet of plastic, I have been intrigued by people's hands. soft, pudgy, sticky. wrinkly and skilled. rich-veined, muscular, and creased thick. sun-whethered, hardened with love. slender, mangled, cold. Each hand tempered by cares of life.
My uncle once said that you can tell a lot about someone by their hands. I was was skeptical for a while, really? are people's hands that different? I was on a mission.
What makes someone's hands admirable? Obviously it would be the super soft and flawless ones that stand out, right? Actually no. (and if you look, there's really very few that are immaculate--and they always left me wondering what was wrong with the person!) Often times I was drawn to the chunky, oily, ink-stained, calloused, warped, decrepit ones. That just me, I wonder? "You could be a hand-model," I have had people say to me. "He obviously works hard," and "she's done this a time or two before," I know I've noted. But why? Grime and jewels both make features unforgettable; I don't understand. Shouldn't one be gorgeous and the other dirty? How can practical utility combine with the fine and graceful to incite love and respect?
Some hands gorgeous though aged with callouses. Others are ringed in silver and gold or soiled and crude. Long nails, painted nails, chewed nails, broken nails, they come in all shapes and sizes. Bulky knuckles and sweaty palms, blisters, warts, and cuticles. Hands are pretty typical. There's five fingers on every one, each triple-jointed member having a different name--but individual fingerprints for every person that's ever lived. Hands scrub dishes and kneed bread, calculate numbers and fold laundry; hands dig in the dirt and write letters; the hands that wipe noses and repair mechanics--and yet none of these are more or less honorable than the ones that fly over a keyboard, or tangle hair into a braid, or provide for a family. Each of us are called to different tasks and with these tasks comes particular loveliness.
With age comes beauty, but also wisdom. When a person's hands are scarred and crooked with arthritis there's got to be a story (more than one, most likely!). Some have deformities and others are "perfect," but what's so cool is that God loves them all and we should be able to find that in them as well. With our modern ideals of perfection and diamond allure, it's all too easy to lose sight of what is truly important in favor of what we think to be beautiful. Maybe it's time to take a minute and learn from those who have seen more than you. Commonly you can read a life's story if you look closely.
Hands are also vessels of love. Through them so much emotion is communicated. From conversation aids and game-winning gestures to high-fives and a thoughtful squeeze, hands can say a lot, I'd say more than words. It's pretty interesting. Next time you're at a coffee shop take a sec and see what people do with their long dangling (and admittedly awkward) appendages. There's the shy folding and un-folding of hands, the coffee cup huggers, the fast and furious scribblers and many others for you to discover. Enjoy the strange beauty!
So what is this beauty that is both simple to find and hard to describe? It's not found in the object itself, there are both pretty and creepy hands that accomplish the same tasks. Can it be found in the person? I don't think so. Tasks don't make hands what they are, but they do contribute to it. If a person never washed sinkload after sinkload of dishes, they would never know what it was like to have prune-hands and witness the slow disappearance of the water-logged ridges. Someone who has never permed hair and used harsh chemicals and hot curling irons will never know what it's like to have numbed finger-tips. and on and on the list goes. Life comes at us in so many directions with countless twists and turns, shaping who we are and what our hands look like and are skilled in doing. Yes, everyone has a certain deftness to their hands--even if that is nothing but the moving of a joystick and clicking of buttons. It's what you do with your life that will crease and fashion your hands into what they will be.
What do you want your hands your hands to say about you? What story are they already telling? (this is not to make your self-concious about your own hands, but I do notice.... =p)