Monday, March 9, 2015

A Childhood Memory

We went to see "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" at Oakland Mills High School yesterday afternoon. It was a fabulous production, excellent on so many fronts. But I found myself troubled by how clearly depressed Charlie Brown is. Why can't anyone see the depth of his distress? He needs much more than a nickel's worth of Lucy's pseudo psychiatric advice.

It made me think of my own childhood. I often felt like Charlie Brown. And it brought to mind how I struggled with poor fine motor skills--manual dexterity, if you will. It's amazing how much of an impact that had in my overall sense of self-worth. It was a big part of what made me feel like, "I'm not like other people."

Kind of like Charlie Brown.



I see my childhood in my hands. I remember my child-hands so clearly. Small, helpless: they didn't do what they were supposed to do. They struggled. Pale, stubby, awkward hands. And now they are older, more worn and wrinkled, they do more, know more, and yet are still the same. Small, stubby, but not helpless. But the ache of my helpless childhood is in them. I could not do what needed to be done, and I could not stop the big bad things that filled my soul with dread. The fears that crushed me.

I carry around that helpless, broken child. Every day. As I carry and reach, give and receive, help or hurt. My hands tell everything: I couldn't do it. I couldn't hold a pencil well, or cut with scissors. Carry the teakettle, play the piano, put sheets on the bed. I strained and struggled. Everything turned out wrong. I hated my hands. I hated myself because I couldn't get rid of that thing that marked me inadequate. There was nothing to tell me, "I feel strong in myself, I am capable." And nothing to defend from harm.

God gave me these hands, and they could have been lovely hands. Beautiful and beloved, had they only been accepted. And now, so late in time, I try to give them the simple chance to be beautiful. I hold them up in the light and think of good things. Caressing my husband, loving my children, crafting, baking, the dance-like hand motions to so many little songs that make my students smile.

How hard and unending the journey to find beauty in my own creation. Accepting what is. Loving what is.

Bless these hands, Oh Lord. I lift them up in thanks and love.


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