Ages ago when I was in school for physical therapy, they told us that when it eventually came time to examine the human body up close the hands would be the very last thing we'd encounter. This is because of their aching familiarity, a quality we often don't notice until faced with their intimate scrutiny. When dissected up close, often a poignant and unexpected humanity is revealed. In this awkward academic proximity to both life and death, at the tips of our very own fingers with our hearts as witness, hands could trigger a flood of stories and sensations because of all we have watched them touch throughout our lives.
Hands are forever alive with life and memory.
My grandma laughed when I took a moment to wonder at hers, how pretty and capable her long fingers were, how soft and strong they felt. She smiled, saying that they're simply good for grabbing onto things. At 93, I imagine the utilitarian nature of the body becomes very plain and that the connection of mind-body-spirit begins to differentiate and collide in new and delicate ways. I then placed my own hands against my mom's for comparison, palm to palm, seeing and feeling how precisely similar they are in every way despite there being no genetic roadmap between us, just the language of reaching and connecting making us undeniably a part of one another. Grandma, Mom and I.
I reminded myself while landing at Dayton International last Friday, that this trip would not be about saying goodbye, convincing myself that it is not time yet even though my heart was heavy with this unspoken possibility pressed upon by distance and time. I promised to stay in devotion to living... to, be here, now... in the beautiful banality of iced tea, spring rain, and Scrabble.
Somewhere in this messy matrix of love and family and faith, while practicing the easy truth of laughter, food and togetherness, I grasped something far more infinite than final.
Hand in hand, the prevailing perpetuity of life and love.