Friday, January 30, 2009

Hold My Hand

I have hands on the brain this month, from Barack Obama's speech, to an old Civil Rights song, to various poems, to thinking about my own hands . . .

It started over Christmas, while I was observing my nephew, who is 2 and a half years old. One night at dinner, he reached towards my sister and said, "Hold hands, Mommy, hold hands." When she took his hand, he reached his other hand to my husband and said, "Hold hands, Carl, hold hands." We were done saying grace over the meal, so I don't think he thought we were praying. There weren't any scary new foods, but maybe he wanted comfort anyway--the other times he reaches for a hand are mainly times when we're near roads and parking lots.

I've thought of him often this month. I'm impressed with his ability to simply ask for what he needs. I've thought that I should take a page from his book. When I'm feeling anxious, and my husband is around, I go to him and say, "Hold hands, Carl, hold hands." He's always happy to reach out his hand.

I've also started trying to imagine God as a God who will hold hands.

On Election night, I was listening to a Smithsonian Folkways CD of music from the Civil Rights era. One song, sung to the music of "This Little Light of Mine," repeats the line "Jesus hold my hand, while I run this race" 3 times. There are numerous other verses, like "Jesus guide my feet, while I run this race." The refrain is either "I don't want to run this race alone" or "I don't want to run this race in vain."

The other morning, as I was out for my morning jog, the song was going through my head. I imagined Jesus as a morning running partner, right there beside me, offering encouragement. That particular run did go more smoothly--was it Jesus, or just some biomechanical variable?

I'm also trying to remember to ask for hand holding as I face more difficult moments. It's a comfort to imagine a God who is right there, with a soothing smile, holding hands.

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