To Have and to Hold


“There are stories hidden in these hands, too many to number, and I am lost in the mystery of it all.”

I look at my hands and I know the truth.

These hands were formed perfectly in the dark waters, their very prints etched by the mysterious swirling and the imagination of a Creator God at work. From the beginning, purpose was pressed into their pattern. Even before one grain of time’s sands slipped through the glass, their shape and form and capacity were determined.

I know this. I do.

And yet I still catch myself wringing those very same hands, the ones that were shaped just for me.

Do I somehow believe that, in the wrenching, all the worry will fall away, like old brittle snakeskin, shed to make room for new? Or is the action more akin to a kneading, an attempt to make one thing into another? What is my intention when I take the very handiwork of God and close it in upon itself, over and over and over?

I look back at my hands and I remember:

sandcastles built at the ocean’s edge and tiny seeds planted in dark earth;

the brush of fingers across a lover’s cheek and the catching of life, fresh from heaven;

the callouses borne from work hard and long and nails caught quick upon life’s harsh edges;

the clasping of cheeks, chubby with milk and dew drops of love and the wiping of a forehead wrinkled with illness and age.

The whole of this–my very life–all of it, touched by these very hands.

I turn my palms up and trace all of the lines, the ones that some believe foretell the future. The creases are knitted in and around each other, made deeper and more profound by all the times my hands have opened and closed, received and rejected, embraced and let go. There are stories hidden in these hands, too many to number, and I am lost in the mystery of it all.

And then, in a twinkling, it all becomes clear.  The story of the Israelites in the wilderness and their bending low to brush hands over the white hoarfrost from heaven, gathering all that they needed, all that they could hold—it is the same for me. These hands, and what they hold, are always–have always been–enough. Everything that has ever been placed within their grasp has been only what I could bear.

My hands were created to hold what is enough for this day and isn’t that all we have anyway?

Yes. My hands. Enough.


Photo credit: Hand in Hand by fabrisalvetti on flickr