Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Makes A Hand Beautiful?

The Poet says my hands have character.  That's his way of nicely saying they aren't exactly perfect.  My knuckles are knobby, my fingers are crooked and short, and my nails are paper thin  And although they are not as young as they used to be, it is not age that has done this.  My hands have always looked this way.  Its funny that it never occurred to me to question how my hands looked.  I'm pretty sure that was because my hands looked just like my older brother Bill's hands.  And I was  convinced that everything about him was completely cool.

One day well into adulthood I received a comment about my hands.  The young mother of one of my students was telling me how she worried about her nails and whether or not they were pretty enough for her husband.  She talked herself into quite a stew as we stood there and then suddenly she exclaimed, "Oh!  But look at your hands!  Maybe it doesn't matter after all."  I looked down at my hands.  I had just finished several children's art classes in a row.  There were my knobby crooked fingers in need of lotion and sprinkled with the various colors of paint that we'd been using that day.

I spent the next few days wondering whether I should do something about my hands.  Of course, I could not straighten them but maybe I should have my nails done.  Hmmmmm.  And how many hours would it be then before those costly nails had children's paint on them?  Then I began to realize that I could not have "pretty" hands because of the time they spent in paint and glue.  The idea of hands and their role began to roll around in my mind for weeks.  How challenging life is for those who do not have use of their hands at all.  And how much we should take advantage of the hands we have.

Scripture says "How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace and bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"  Isaiah 52:7    Surely the same can be said for hands.  Beautiful are the hands that hold another's to ward off fear.  Beautiful are the hands that bring food to the hungry.  Beautiful are the hands that reach out to hug and to bring strength.  Beautiful are the hands that are raised to celebrate.  And beautiful are the hands that reach out bringing another to the One whose hands were pierced in love for us.


Brenda Lynn said...

Lovely post, E. You're so right. Beauty is what comes from us, that which we give up and hand over, from the heart, across the palm, ultimately from the Spirit Himself.

Graceful Moments said...

What a beautiful post and how I needed to read this! My hands are terrible. They are washed too much, too dried out, hang nails abound and the nails don't want to grow and are lumpy. Mine are also frequently covered in paint, glue or ink. The funny thing is that I hnow each set of hands of all of my loved ones who are gone from this world looked (mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunt and sisters.) They each had beautiful hands to me...some would have been considered ugly and some exceptionally beautiful by the world's standards but they were all beautiful to me. I can only hope that those who love me will remember my hands with love, as I remember the hands that loved me.