It is regularly said that life is like a hand of cards and we each have to decide how to play what we are dealt with. We can go through life ...
This is not as bizarre as it may at first sound because hands are the symbol of connectivity. Parents hold their children’s hands for comfort and security. Lovers hold each other’s hands as a sign of closeness and continuing affection. In many cultures you shake hands when you first meet someone and often when you say goodbye.
When troubled times arise the hand of friendship is offered as an expression of peace.
In ancient times (and in some recent times – as with Prince William and Kate Middleton) people who plan to marry have asked for the other’s hand in marriage.
The hand we use can be negative or positive. It is said that you can’t shake hands with a clenched fist. History records many signs of workers uprising against oppression as having a raised fist in their protest banners. The use of the hand can be a very physical presence in our lives or it can be a verbal presence. Comments that can cause intense pain are sometimes referred to as off-hand. These words are as sharp as barbed wire pulled across an exposed arm.
The symbolism of the hand is potent in all societies.
No use of the hand is as powerful as when it is used in love. With love the hand can placate heated situations, it can intervene and assist those who need help (and sometimes those who don’t know they need or feel they want it – especially children), it can symbolise support and strength, and it can be used as a promise of faith, honesty and integrity.
When we want to separate ourselves from people we get into a ‘hand off’ position. This is when we are not touching anymore and we adopt a position where we are no longer responsible for the other person. Parents say their children are ‘off their hands’ when they leave home and assume responsibility for themselves.
I often wonder where our responsibility to ourselves and to each other begins and ends. This makes me think if we can ever truly say that we have a ‘hands off’ position with people less fortunate than ourselves? I think that the welfare of us all is linked; linked by our innate connection to each other, linked by our hands. We often exist in a state of isolated numbness that, according to the character Graham in the film Crash (2004), because people need human connections and contact when they miss it they may just crash into someone to shatter the numb feelings – even if it is for a while.
With a little imagination we can all connect in a better way that crashing into each other, we can really make the image of ‘hands around the world’ work as we reach out and touch somebody’s life with love.
I’m living a ‘hands on’ life. For me it is the only way. I remember a time in my past when I didn’t know how to ask for help properly and I imagined that people we ‘thinking’ about me when what I really needed was for someone to actually touch my life – with their hands.
Being present is a gift.
When I work with children in schools I see the difference that dedicated one-on-one time makes to their day and their life learning experiences and from this small act I know that being a hands-on person is like attending a free symphony every day.
I always get more than I give. The old proverb says “One hand can’t clap.” I think it will be great if we all started reaching out to each other to make our own beautiful music in a peaceful ‘hands-on’ way.
Then we truly can have hands around the world.