THE TEACHER’S HAND

When Mrs. Klein told her first graders to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful, she thought how little these children, who lived in a deteriorating neighbourhood, actually had to be thankful for. She knew that most of the class would draw pictures of turkeys or of bountifully laden Thanksgiving tables. That was what they believed was expected of them.

What took Mrs. Klein aback was Douglas’s picture. Douglas was so forlorn and likely to be found close in her shadow as they went outside for recess. Douglas’s drawing was simply this:

A hand, obviously, but whose hand? The class was captivated by his image. “I think it must be the hand of God that brings us food,” said one student.

“A farmer,” said another, “because they grow the turkeys.” 

“It looks more like a policeman, and they protect us.” “I think,” said Lavinia, who was always so serious, “that it is supposed to be all the hands that help us, but Douglas could only draw one of them.”

Mrs. Klein had almost forgotten Douglas in her pleasure at finding the class so responsive. When she had the others at work on another project, she bent over his desk and asked whose hand it was.

Douglas mumbled, “It’s yours, Teacher.”

Then Mrs. Klein recalled that she had taken Douglas by the hand from time to time; she often did that with the children. But that it should have meant so much to Douglas  …

Source: Reader’s Digest

CONSIDER THIS

Today consider the silent language of hands: “Hands calm us, feed us, and scratch our backs. They intimidate, bless, encourage, and stop us. They soothe and caress. They draw our attention to the good and the bad, often suggesting exuberance or fear.” – Charles Flowers in the introduction to Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook

Today give thanks for the gift of hands in your life, your own and those of others who companioned and are still companioning you on the path of life: helping hands, affirming hands, encouraging hands, healing hands, open hands.

ONE BODY

Once upon a time, the various parts of the body began complaining against the stomach.

“Look at me,” says the hand, “I till the soil to plant the seeds, I harvest the crops, I prepare the food. All that the stomach ever does is lie there waiting to be fed. This is unfair.”

The feet agreed, “Me too, I carry the heavy stomach around all day, I carry him to the farm to get food, I carry him to the river to get water, I even carry him up the palm tree to get palm wine, and all the stomach ever does is lie there and expect to get his ration of food, water and wine whenever he needs them. This is unfair.”

The head, too complained how he carries all the heavy load from the farm and from the river, all to feed the stomach who does nothing to help. The parts of the body decided that this injustice must stop. To force the issue, they decided to embark on a protest action. They agreed to stop working and feeding the lazy stomach until the stomach learns to be a responsible citizen of the body.

A whole day went by and the stomach was not given any food or water or wine. All that the stomach did was groan from time to time while the others taunted him. By the second day of starving the stomach, the head said that he was beginning to feel dizzy. By the third day, the hands reported that they were feeling weak, and the feet were wobbly and could not stand straight. Then it dawned on them that, much as they were visibly supporting the stomach, the stomach was also supporting them in a less obvious but equally important way. It dawned on them that by feeding the stomach they were feeding themselves without knowing it. So they called off their strike action and went back to work to feed the stomach. Their strength returned and together with the stomach they lived happily together after.

Source | An african fable of unknown origin

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Reflect on the passage for Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians:

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. | 1 Corinthians 12:14-26

Remember that every member of the community, including those who appear to be useless, are important after all.

 

 

START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE

Homer and Emmy Lou were spending some time together on the front porch swing. Now Homer was very much in love with his beautiful Emmy Lou. However, he was shy and often had difficulty mustering up the courage to express his love in a physical way. Aware if his inability he spent a lot of time talking to her about it, expressing his affection with flowery words:

“Emmy Lou, if I had a thousand eyes, they would all be gazing at you.”
“Emmy Lou, if I had a thousand arms, they would all be hugging you”.
“Emmy Lou, if I had a thousand lips, they would all be kissing you!” 

One day Emmy Lou, having had enough and on the verge of losing her patience, looked at Homer and replied, “Homer, stop complaining about what you don’t have and start using what you do have!”

Source | Unknown

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • How many opportunities to we miss, focusing on our inadequacies?
  • How often we end up doing nothing, imprisoned by the fear of failure?
  • The “If only I had… I would” mentality will never serve you well. Nor will it your family or society at large.
  • Stop complaining about what you don’t have and start using what you do have.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can,  at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” | John Wesley

ELBOW AGILITY

Giovanna, a delightful Italian grandmother is giving directions to her grown grandson, Antonio, who is coming to visit with his wife, Maria.

“You come to the front door of the apartment. I’m in apartment 301. There is a big panel at the front door. With your elbow, push button 301. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is on the right. Get in, and with your elbow, push 3. When you get out, I’m on the left. With your elbow, hit my doorbell.”

“Grandma, that sounds easy, but, why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow?”

“What … are you coming empty handed?”

PONDER

  • Are you blessed with elbow agility? Or put in slightly different words: where do you stand when it comes to gift giving?
  • What is that little thing that you can bring along to enhance the feast of life wherever you go?