History in your Hands

Erich Maria Remarque once said in his novel A Night in Lisbon, “How can we be really sure of our happiness until we know how much of it is going to stay with us?” “The only way,” Schwarz whispered, “is to know that we can’t hold it, and stop trying to. We frighten it away with our clumsy hands. But if we can keep our hands off it, won’t it go on living fearlessly behind our eyes? Won’t it stay there as long as our eyes live?”

We frighten happiness away with our clumsy hands…Wow! If you think about it, history shows up in your hands and in them, what makes us happy, and it provides understanding of our ability to keep on living fearlessly.

I often look at people’s hands and nails. They speak loudly about what is important to them. Short, manicured nails speak of massage; artsy nails, glamour; broad hands, caring for the ones we love; soft hands, gentleness; scars, our wounds as we work; burns, our love of cooking; arthritic knuckles, our aging; callouses, our ability to play guitar; dirt under the nails, the joy of gardening; smooth, soft skin, youth and innocence; broken and split nails, neglect; vertical ridges, illness.

Take a look at your hands right now. Really study them. Write a few lines about your hands and see where it goes.