Life Is In Our Hands

Hands tell many stories.

Our hands are needed for lots of things we do, and they can reveal a great deal about a person. Big hands, small hands, medium-sized hands: all are uniquely different. Long, skinny fingers, short-stubby fingers, badly deformed arthritic fingers, ordinary fingers: all similar yet individual. Like fingerprints, no two hands are the same.

Rough, callused hands indicate one does tough work without protection. Just the opposite is a soft, pale hand, woman or man, such that one feels almost afraid to touch it.

Weather affects hands too. Winter cold often chaffs and breaks open our hands in many places, especially around the fingernails on thumbs and index fingers.

Fingernails further define the impression hands make. Long, dirty fingernails on men, or women for that matter, are definitely a pet peeve. Ours grow fast, but we try to keep them clipped. Short nails are best for men, but longer, shaped, brightly-colored nails look nice on certain women. We always feel sorry for those who chew their nails

Indians used their hands and fingers for sign language many centuries ago. The deaf today converse readily with hands. Certain fraternal groups use hand motions for secret messages among members. A hand in the air is a form of voting or asking for recognition to speak in most groups. An index finger across closed lips is an urge to keep quiet.

A revivalist proposed that each finger has a meaning and purpose. Thumb: up, good or positive; down, bad or negative. Index finger:  pointing in accusing or complimenting. Middle finger: vulgar. Ring finger: personal vows. Pinky finger: little ole me.

Another suggests the hand is an allegorical configuration of the soul, or the principle of life.  Their Biblical meanings for the fingers: The thumb? “Give thanks.” The index finger? “Strive to reach the light.” The middle finger? “Examine, weigh.” The ring finger? “Suffer, regret.” The little finger? “Offer, propose, show, present.”

Our first recollection of two fingers, index and center, of either hand or both hands, put up into the air was in the late ’60s, when the hippie movement started. For some
reason, we thought it meant victory, but it was their symbol of love and peace.  Today, the “V” gesture is common in church and many places, evidently as “peace be with you.”

There is one hand stronger than any other as emphasized in Joshua 4:24: “That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.” His hand has unlimited power as in Isaiah 59:1: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear that it
cannot hear.”

Mother Teresa recommended we use our hands for an examination of our conscience: “What did these hands do to Jesus today? What did these hands do for Jesus today? What did these hands do with Jesus today?” .It’s a principle worth following.

Next time somebody asks: “How are you feeling?” Answer like Grandma Buchman always did: “With my fingers.”