Held Hands

I ran across a piece of art a few years ago and I regret I didn’t walk home with it.  Art is hard for me that way, it strikes when I’m not expecting it and my pragmatic side takes over. I loved it and I walked away empty handed that day but the image stays with me.

The sculpture was a wood carving of a muscled arm and hand reaching down open and ready to grasp the out stretched hand of a small child.  It was beautiful, detailed, smooth.

It fascinates me that a simple gesture holds so much meaning and so many meanings.DSC_0351

Support, comfort, love, discipline, warmth, protection, guidance…all in a simple contact.  There’s the interlocked fingers of a first crush, the handshake of an introduction, the wrist hold when a toddler attempts to break free on a busy street, the help up a step for the elderly, guidance for the blind, comfort on a steep mountain trail, prayer, comfort.

In the chaos of our current transition back to the U.S. of A. I’ve wanted to reach out and hold something, anything, steady.  I’d love to reach up and be a dependent again…cede all decisions and provision to someone greater and more capable. But, I’m the adult and other hands reach to me now.

It is a challenge. Every morning I stumble out of bed and thank my Lord for programmable coffee makers while I attempt to make myself available to His hand. As much as I say I want dependence, I don’t do it very well…at all!

I read my Bible for a while and then start planning…not praying…planning.  If I hadn’t jettisoned my almost-used-up planner before we left Asia it would reveal over the top efforts to stabilize my life.

In the last days overseas I discovered the held hand picture in the Bible again.  Passages in Psalms about not being hurled headlong because He holds our hand.

This last week I latched onto the image of the sculpture again, an image to reflect on as I seek to depend on Him more. In the New Testament I guess you’d call it the abiding life from John 15, the grapevine.  Another picture.

I do so love the common real-life images that fill the Bible with images of life with God.  Constant reminders of His presence.  Alas, I regret anew passing over that beautiful wood carving!

What common images remind you of God?

Reflections on a Fisherman’s Hands

Rough, tan, scarred, mangled, tattooed. I imagine the followers hands. Working with nets and knives for a living does that to hands…I imagine.

I’ve fished a few times in my life. In lakes, in stock ponds, and in swift streams. That’s the fun part, the holding the pole and the waiting. The bite and the haul. But then comes the blood and the guts. The descaling. The cutting.

Fishing for men is much the same. It’s exciting and fun at first and then it gets messy. The task of the fishermen after the haul is dirty and requires skilled hands that want hard work. Hands that are willing to get messy, willing to get slashed by a sharp knife. I’m not sure I understood that part of fishing until late. It’s a messy job, this fishing. I’m a messy fish myself. Others have dirtied themselves in my life.

Hearts are sick…including mine…who can understand the twists and turns? Certainly not I but that is only my excuse to not get messy. Not a good reason to bow out of the battle. Not a good reason to jump out of the boat. Am I willing to reach into the net and grasp the fish? To wield the knife? To have it wielded on me?

And that tattoo. I love that tattoo. The mark of a life lived hard. A brand of one who understands the dark side of life. Here it means gang life or time in prison. I was branded for the other side til He fished for me. In many ways I still bear the marks for all to see.

I’d like to think they have to look hard…but I don’t think they do. But…isn’t that the beauty of grace?