All hands on deck! For the next few moments of your life, I’m going to ask you to please consider your hands. (Go ahead, sneak a quick peak at old lefty and righty)
When you say, “I know it like the back of my hand”, it means that you know something really, really well. Why? Because our hands are in front of us all day long and spend most of the time facing away from us. They are always there and they always have been. As soon as you’re born, your parents counted your fingers and toes to make sure you had ten of each. Those ten fingers attached to those two hands would be yours for the rest of your life.
After your hands played with your first toys, they taught you not to touch a hot frying pan. It felt good to hold a stuffed animal after you scraped your hands on the cement. Our hands quickly became and remain an invaluable tool for learning. Wherever we are, our hands are the predominant way in which we physically interact with our environment.
Now, I don’t have to tell you what your hands do. But I will.
They hold things and touch things.
They tell you how something feels.
(Hard. Soft. Squishy. Slimy. Fuzzy. Rough. Wet. Sharp. Smooth. Cold. Hot.)
They wave hello and flip the bird.
They open things and close things.
They are used to eat and used to drink.
They wear plastic toy rings and rings that change your life.
They slap and punch and pinch.
They give high fives and pats on the back.
They make beautiful melodies with musical instruments.
They clip the nails of the other one (HEY, we’re all ambidextrous!!).
They shake a new or an old friend’s hand.
They DO WORK.
They stroke your hair and pull it out.
They can perform life-saving surgery or commit murder.
They type and swipe and press and tap.
They can paint or ruin art (DO NOT TOUCH).
They prepare your food and dispose of trash.
They wipe your butt.
They clean your house and fold your laundry.
They have directly or indirectly made or prepared EVERYTHING you’ve ever bought.
They hold a child’s hand as you cross the street.
They hold your partner’s hand as you fall in love.
I’ve missed a lot of things; go ahead and leave a comment below with anything I’ve overlooked.
Now, think of all the places you’ve been in your life.
I’m just ball-parking, but it has to be in the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, right? (I’m talking about every hallway and every room in every building and every car and every outdoor place in every city, state, and country you’ve ever been.) Next, really think about when you were actually there. Picture yourself at work, on vacation, at a party, on a shopping trip. That restaurant, that make out session, that gas station, that movie theater, that school classroom… Sure, your eyes SAW all of those places, but it was your hands that INTERACTED with them. Just the number of things your hands have touched in your life can send your head into all kinds of places and memories. They weren’t different hands, they were the very same hands you see in front of you right now.
That’s the main point I really wanted to make, so go ahead and spend a couple of extra moments trying to fathom the history of your palms and digits.
Isn’t it incredible?
These two appendages that we were born with have been with us our. entire. lives. Every once in a while I become conscious of the fact that my body is merely an extension of myself and not my actual self. I look at my hands and think about where they’ve been, what and who they’ve touched. It’s a pretty neat and rewarding exercise.
I’ll leave you with a couple of fun ones:
What is the GREATEST thing you have ever TOUCHED with your hands? I’m talking about ever in your life — of all time. (The Stanley Cup? A special or endangered animal? A celebrity?)
What is the BEST thing you have ever DONE with your hands? (Write a letter? Knit a sweater? Paint a beautiful sunset? Sink an amazing basketball shot?)
As the years pass and they become more weathered with spots and wrinkles, think of all the amazing things you will experience and do with your hands. Those very same ones that played with your first toy and have been interacting with your world ever since.
Thanks for reading. Now give yourself a hand.
OK, Hootie, take us out: