Monday, June 23, 2008

The Handprint of God

I've always had an affection for hands, not to the point of fetish mind you, I just simply notice people's hands, they most often tell a story and if you look at them long enough you can begin to tell things about the, shall we say wearers, no I like users better in this case. I have heard others say that they pay attention to hands as well, many times these people are in retail, like myself, and they see these hands at their counters, that's where I see the bulk of them. In so doing I have the added bonus of being able to see some pretty handsome jewelry, some really funky faux nails and I have the added opportunity to see some really grungy ones too, once the grease goes in, I know it's hard to get it out.

By looking at some folks hands you can tell what they do for a living, case in point would me mine, there is often green stain on them and sometimes my thumb nail has a little green under it, though I try to keep that down, yes, green thumb does fit a florist. The rough and calloused hands often are the sign of hard manual labor, the hand that fits the shovel or plow. There are smooth hands, that smell of soap, maybe the hands of a nurse or doctor, someone who is involved in care giving. My sister told me once that waitresses who have their nails, “done” get better tips, she would have known. There are other signs that point to other jobs. Again, the hands tell a story. If hands smell like Johnson's Baby Magic, well, you can pretty well guess where those hands are most often.

What do God's hands look like though? I often think that God's hands are calloused from the hard work of yanking people like me from harm's way, they are surely rough and bruised and bloody from where we have all contributed to the hard work of saving lives. I think too that God's hands are smooth and soft because they have comforted so many, holding us like children against his breast. I do know for sure that God's hands are not rough from constant washing, because he hasn't washed his hands of me.

Does God's hands really look like the ones I've described? Do different people see his hands differently? I think that it is possible to miss God's hand altogether, simply over look them every now and then, possibly quite by accident. I had lunch with a minister that I knew a long time ago, he was an absolute neat freak, that's okay, we each have our thing, or to use the trite term, “issue”. He suggested a restaurant on the west side of the city, a small Chinese place. When we arrived he looked at the windows and then frantically looked at me and said, “I'm not sure we should eat here today.”

“What's wrong with it?” I asked. I didn't see anything that would suggest that today would be any different from any other day for a place like this.

“Those nasty prints on the window, they're horrible!” he replied, complete with a full body shudder. The prints that he pointed to were the smudgy greasy hand prints of a small child, probably those of a toddler just learning to walk, the prints were about knee high on the glass. They were here and there on the window, the pattern that would show that a child had probably used the glass to stabilize their newly learned craft of walking.

“Those prints,” I said, “Those? I'm not afraid of those, haven't you ever seen the hand print of God before?

The minister looked at me, the look of disgust melted from his face as he opened the door and said, “we'll eat here, I'm sure it will be good.”