Hands On … November 24, 2012

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I can’t make up my  mind.

Yes, I can’t decide if I enjoy the warmth of the palms or the gentleness of the fingertips, one more than another. Hands are remarkable. Unless they close up and become a fist of rage,  transforming into a club to victimize, they are always more than welcome, at least in my world.

She came into my motel room. She was a stranger to me. She tagged along with a friend who had arrived for an annual visit during my stay in Music City for Thanksgiving. I knew nothing of her. During the introduction I discovered that she was a missionary from Nigeria, interested in music, and had come along with my old haunt to see if any of the nice things he pronounced about me actually had validity in the flesh.

I liked her. She was a bit cautious, being raised in a religious environment, with a danger of demons and deceivers being more advertised than the possibility of angels and truth bearers. I didn’t care. I stopped trying to impress people a long time ago, mainly because trying to figure out what would actually make their clock tick seemed a poor use of time. It was a lovely visit.

We didn’t agree on much. Coming from a theology where the Bible Belt is the only way to keep your pants up, she probably found some of my ideas a bit too progressive or inclusive. But here’s what I know. Disagreements don’t have to be disagreeable if our goal is to find reasons to love each other instead of paths to part the ways. I don’t care who I’m talking with–I can always find common ground, and from that earth I can discover a place to make a foothold and establish some things that are important to me without offending their turf too seriously.

We ate some chicken, sipped some Coke and shared some ideas. Once she realized that I was not intent on merely reciting a bunch of repetitious verses to establish my Godly profile, she relaxed and allowed herself the great blessing and courtesy of being present in the moment. As we neared the end of our visit, it because obvious to me that my friend had shared with her some of my ongoing plight with my legs, knees and immobility. She asked if she could pray for me. It was really quite beautiful. She began by serenading me with a soft, sweet lullaby and then moved towards me, kneeling next to me, placing her hands inside mine and began to pray, beckoning the heavens.

I stared down at her beautiful fingertips. They were the color of cocoa–or maybe like coffee that has just enough cream with a couple of Sweet and Lows.

Honestly, I didn’t listen to much of what she had to say–her words. Much of that was her religious training coming out in her vernacular, filled with ideas that are not foreign in my experience, but now ancient in my practice. I just kept looking at her hands.

I squeezed them occasionally to feel the warmth and tenderness. Combined with the sincerity and earnestness of her voice, they touched me in a place in my heart that did require reinforcement. Although not weary in well-doing in attempting to walk with unwilling legs, I was tired. Her hands on mine gave me the emotional energy to press on.

I know she probably wished for a miracle–maybe that I would rise up from my bed and walk. But life is not always as simplistic as the wishes of our childish hearts. Sometimes it’s just the heat, concern and immense energy derived from hands on hands. It doesn’t make things completely better, but it does make things better … completely.

She rose from her position of prayer and removed her hands, with tears in her eyes. I immediately missed her hands. I wish they could have stayed with me for another hour, day … or maybe a week.

But as I write this to you today, I can still feel them. We must never underestimate the power of becoming hands-on with the world around us. We just never know when God will use that touch to set in motion something truly beautiful.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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