Her hands were bony and strong. Not the hands of youth with its demand to have power and control. No, her hands were strong from living life and a “hold onto me” strength. Those hands held onto me through the entire benediction. At the end there was that extra squeeze. I give it too. It’s the squeeze that says, “You belong. You are part of this community, and God will be with you this week.”
Holding hands allows you the opportunity to say more than words can. I had a very dear friend of mine stop me to thank me for praying for her. She had approached me several weeks ago for prayer over some medical tests she was having done. But in the midst of her thanking me to pray for her, she appologized for not asking me how I was doing. I took her hands in mine and told her I understood. I held her hands because I wanted her to know how much she meant to me. I took her hands to reassure her that she did not need to apologize to me. I took her hands in mine to let her know I loved her and it was my privilage to pray for her.
Holding hands with my 9 year old son allows me to tell him how much I love him. He is at an age where he does not want his mother to kiss him or hug him in front of his friends. Yet he will let me hold his hand while we walk together … even in front of his friends. I treasue this time. I treasue this hand holding because it is my way of telling him he belongs; he is part of me.
It is in our hands that we offer prayer and petition to God. It is in our hands when we are able to heal or to hurt others. Our hands express so much of what we cannot. Christ used His hands to heal, to touch, to heal people. I want to reach out to others in the same way. Sometimes I am in situations where I cannot hold someone’s hand. But I can touch them. I can put my hand on their arm or shoulder. I find myself doing this with my students. It is in my touch that I convey to them that they belong. They are worth more than what they think. My students are worthy of a simple touch.
Hands speak so much. They convey strength and love and hope and trust. Just the act of holding onto someone else’s hand can inspire someone to be more and do more. What are your hands going to say about you this week?