Behold the hands
how they promise, conjure, appeal,
refuse, beckon, interrogate, admire, confess,
mock and what not besides, with a variation and multiplication of
variation which makes the tongue envious.
-Michel de Montaigne
Our hands often reveal what we really
think but do not say.
They can show a range of feelings and emotions from
confusion and frustration
to joy, understanding, love, and compassion.
Among all species, our human hands are unique —
not only in what they can accomplish,
but also in how they communicate. Human hands can paint the Sistine Chapel, pluck a guitar,
maneuver surgical instruments, chisel a David,
forge steel, and write poetry.
They can grasp, scratch, poke, punch, feel, sense, evaluate,
hold and mold the world around us.
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
Let us touch the dying, the poor, the
lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and
let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.
Hands calm us, feed us, and scratch our backs.
They intimidate, bless, encourage, and stop us.
They soothe and caress.
They draw our attention to the good and the bad, often
suggesting exuberance or fear.
-Charles Flowers introduction to Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook
Hands have saved lives and taken them just as easily.
They create the saviors of life as well as the
purveyors of death.
Creating and destroying with a single move
a finger can move mountains or search the
Hands live to caress and love.
Hands live to fight and die.
Forever living hands, forever exploring hands.
-Bruce Alan Humphrey
To receive everything, one must open
one’s hands and give.
Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes.
Your deepest presence is in every small
contracting and expanding, the two as
beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.
Hold a true friend with both hands
To pray means to open your hands before God.
The hands which beckon,
embrace, soothe, and comfort us
Bid us farewell.
… For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.
Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene 5
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