I like to people watch. I don’t know when this habit developed, but I can say for sure that by the time I was in high school it was a pretty honed skill. I wish I could say that it has always been used for good, but…well…it includes (still) countless hours of entertainment for purely selfish reasons and less-than-honorable voyeuristic mockery. Shame on me. I’d go to confession over it, but don’t you know I’d rather follow St. Augustine’s example and wait just a little more before I have a conversion about it.
On my way back from lunch I saw a pretty sketchy-looking couple, walking in a pretty sketchy area, and they were holding hands. My typical reaction is to spout off some awful comment, but I’m a sucker for hand-holding. Any kind. Lovers. Children. Parents and their children. It’s a beautifully intimate act. To place one’s hand in another’s is a joining of so many things: solidarity, companionship, strength, and trust.
That’s why when we give up control, we say that “things are out of our hands.”
Often our greatest and most difficult act is to relinquish our poor hold on control and place our sorrows and our desires in God’s hands. I don’t know why that’s so tough…we lead our children by the hand; we hold each other up by the hand; we place our hearts in our lovers’ hands…why the reticence with God?
“See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name” Isaiah 49:16
Is there a safer place to be? I’d like to give the quick, obvious answer to that, but I am weak and my head doesn’t always do what my heart says. Or maybe it’s the other way around – my heart doesn’t seem to respond to what my head says.
Perhaps my fascination with hand-holding is an unconscious response to this truth – that if I can so easily slip my hand into someone else’s, how much more comforting and accessible is God’s own hand.
Whose hand do you like to hold?