To Come With Hands Free


“For clenched fists can’t gather treasure and hearts that harbor greed leave no room for grace.”

It is early morning and the pale winter sun is trying to press through the clouds. We are all caught between the darkness of sleep and the glimmering of morning and so we yawn long and wide. I sit on the couch in the spot left warm by the disobedient dog and my youngest son comes to me. Standing before me he takes my face in his hands and cups my cheeks with his lengthening fingers. His smile broadens and the corners drip love. His eyes search my face and he studies the stories that are hidden deep.

There is only this moment, it seems.


She has been sick and I have been worried. An infection in her body is no small thing. I go to her, wrapped in garments woven with fear and anxiety and I long to drape her with layers of protection. Instead, I fill her refrigerator and fluff her pillows and sit beside her on the sofa. We have begun an exchange of sorts these last few years, wherein we switch from caregiver to receiver and back again. It has stretched us both and in that lengthening, we have caught glimpses of hidden places. The love between a mother and daughter can carry impossible burdens and it is often sickness that reveals the truth.

We have only this moment, it seems.


I look in the corners of his eyes for some hint, some cosmic knowing that will reassure me, that what we are facing will not break us or undo that which we’ve spent years in the making. Oh, how everything can change in the mere tick of a clock and how loud the silence can be. That split in time, when all is suspended and we’re incapable of darting quickly this way or that, it is then that we are made, I believe. I look at him again, anxious and hopeful, and I see his eyes have crinkled and his head is tossed back and he is laughing. Laughing!

And there is only this moment, it seems.


All of this?

This is it.

The very things we long for, muse on, wish into being—all of it, is here.  It is in our everyday, run of the mill lives that the sacred is hidden. And so, it seems, we must become miners of mystery. There is majesty on the purple mountain tops, yes, but neither is splendor spared in the valleys. The great big whole of it pulses with kingdom blood and we only need listen closely to hear its rhythm.

These gifts are ours for the stringing, one upon the other, moment after glorious moment, if only we come with our hands free.

For clenched fists can’t gather treasure and hearts that harbor greed leave no room for grace. It is in each moment, received with openness and surrender, that we find the hidden joy.

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”  ―Frederick Buechner


Photo Credit: The Hand by Alex E. Proimos on flickr