Looks like it’s been a week since my fingers last tapped in this space.
But in between now and then, my hands were busy. Folding clothes into piles, wrapping dishes in newspaper, stuffing car trunks full of load after load of toys and books and boxes and pictures and plants.
My knuckles scrubbed a kitchen of cabinets from floor to ceiling, then scoured tubs and showers and floors and windows. The skin on my fingertips is rubbed raw from washing dishes and bathroom sinks. To call them “dishpan hands” would be a sore understatement.
I broke nearly all of my nails in the move. Hauling boxes, lugging furniture – it’s not work for the manicured.
So my hands aren’t pretty right now. And neither are either of our houses – the one we’re leaving or the one we’re entering. Living in-between is a dirty, grimy place to be.
But my hands are helping to turn this house into a home. They’ve brushed paint, laid rugs, hung curtains and hammered nails. They’re working hard every day (and night) to transform a strange space into our familiar own. Box by box, room by room, my hands are working alongside many others to make this big move a reality.
Sometimes I fixate on all that my hands don’t do. Pick up the pen to write. Plunk out a tune on the dusty piano in the corner. Plant more flowers, paint, photograph, prepare gourmet dinners from scratch.
But my hands do a lot. They’re making a house a home. And holding children, changing diapers, making lunches, building blocks, and tickling toddlers, too.
Scripture is full of God’s hands. We pray to be held safe in God’s grasp; we marvel at God’s fingerprints smudged across creation. But not until my hands were wrenched by the work of this move did I stop to sit with this image of God’s hands.
I wonder what God’s hands look like after all the work of creating and repairing and healing. Would God’s hands be wrinkled and weathered? Perfect and smooth? Aching and tired?
Maybe in all the good work that we do – the writing that makes our fingers cramp, the gardening that lines our nails with dirt – we let God work through our hands. Teresa of Avila said Christ has no hands now but ours.
Almost as weighty a prospect as the heavy boxes I’ve still got to unpack tonight.