A friend’s life is falling down around her ears.
It hits me hard, this dismantling.
I feel helpless as I watch the wrecking ball crash into buckling walls.
Beautiful rooms dissolve into dust.
I'm inadequate in the face of such pain and fear.
Words only wound
by their imperfection and insufficiency.
So I take her hand, and we pray.
Begging God to be in this mess.
I glance down at our skinny hands, clasped together like a knot.
And I realize that, in the end, that is what friends do.
We hold hands in hospital waiting rooms.
We hold hands when divorce papers are served.
We hold hands when the diagnosis is given.
We hold hands when parents die, when children are sick, when scandal
When hearts break.
Sometimes it’s the only thing to do.
The best thing we can do.
In our media-obsessed world, contact between human beings becomes ever more impersonal. We are afraid to touch each other. To get too close.
Maybe we’re just afraid of germs.
We might catch something from another person.
We could catch their fear or their pain or their heartbreak.
But human beings need flesh on flesh and skin on skin.
When I touch you, I connect with you.
I feel the pulse in your cold hand. I feel the life.
And I mingle it with mine, in our clasp of hands.
The ancient Celts had a custom called hand-fasting. In wedding ceremonies, the couple’s hands were tied together with an endless knot.
the Bride of Christ, his body, is knotted together in love.
And we hold each other’s hands
when words fail.
I will hold your hand in the dark, my friend.
“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.”” (Isaiah 41:13)
After writing most of the above, I had to dash off to an appointment before I could publish. Afterwards, I stopped by the gym to stretch out my aching back. I put Pandora on my iphone, and this was the chorus of the first song that came on:
“But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we'll hold your hand
Hold your hand.”
(p.s. Did anyone notice that I made a Freudian slip in the previous post?
In the champagne incident, I wrote ‘deviance against the Forces of Evil’ instead of defiance.
But I think I like deviance better anyway. (For we know his wiles…)