For February 1, Day 6 — From an Old-Handed Woman (written in 2010)

Today I saw a photograph of my hand, and I wanted to look away as fast as I could. Instead of noticing the beauty in the personalized artwork of my fingernails, done especially for me by my friend LaSandra, I saw the thousand wrinkles and spots and veins of an ugly old hand. Barbara Brown Taylor asks us to tak the time to look at our hand, and see it with reverence.

Did I make that hand? Did I make those spots? Did I cause the wrinkles that come with the joy of old age? I didn’t, of course. God made those things for Love. It is up to me to revere them. I worked hard to get to this part of my life; I partnered with God, one way or another. I didn’t make my hand, but I can revere it as the amazingly complex thing that it is.

1,000 bones? Or fewer? But many. Skin and hardness in my nails, a wonder as they cover new skin. Wrinkles on my knuckles that look like smushed and lopsided faces. A map of rings that I can make smooth with motion, revealing the very blood lines that course through my hand and keep me alive. Skin so loose it reminds me of a young baby who has not grown into her skin yet.

Not yet – this old hand. It’s not old enough yet. If God is in everything, and everything is in God, then God is in my hand, is my wrinkled skin, is the history of my spots.

Rather than distain how my hand looks, rather than run away from how I look as an old handed woman, I want to pay attention and remember that I did not create this hand. A marvel in how long it has lasted, how much it can do, how it is connected to my heart. How my hand is not alone in my body, but a living symbol of what God creates and what is possible.

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