Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Hands: Heads or Tails? February 24, 2013

Mr. Prickles slipped his little hedgehog self under the couch again today. Darned slippery hardwood floors. No matter how hard I try, I always struggle trying to dig my little pals out from under there. And it is almost always to no avail. Inevitably I end up pestering mom or dad to use their long arms to dig out whatever misfit toy I’ve lost that day.

It’s an almost daily occurrence in the Schmidt house, so I generally don’t think anything of it. Today was different. Today my mom also grabbed out a little silver nickel stamped with the year 2010 on it. As I watched her fingers wrap around the token, I found myself pondering where I was at this time in 2010.

I closed my eyes and it happened. It’s like I was there again.

I saw him, the man who made me fear leather belts. The man whose hands made me crumple into the smallest version of myself. It wasn’t just me his hands hurt. I shudder to my core when I remember watching in horror as he lashed out at Jo. At the tender people age of six, Jo was my only friend in the world at that point in time. And her little people hands were my favorite. When she pet me, I felt her love through her hands. She was always so gentle; such a happy contrast from the awful man who abused us both. I loved her so.

You can imagine how I reacted the first time I saw what the man was doing to my poor innocent little Jo. I had heard about it on the streets, but I never thought I would see it firsthand. So I did like anyone would do – I interceded, and as a result I became the brunt of the beating that time. I don’t regret it.

It happened a few more times before the last time. I caught that man’s ugly hand with my mouth and I bit down as hard as I could. Well, that was the end of that. The next day, the man left me on the side of the road in the bitterly frigid February of 2010. It took me a while after that to see hands the same way. It wasn’t probably until I adopted my mission statement of joy that I started to trust people hands again. And I’m so glad I did.

It’s like American singer-songwriter Jewel says in “Hands.”

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we’re all OK
And not to worry ’cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won’t be made useless
I won’t be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear

Hands can do so many things. They play musical instruments in the most beautiful of symphonies. They can piece together the most unbelievably delicious delicacies. They can radiate love through a delicate touch. They canĀ retrieve beloved toys from underneath couches. They can love. And they can hate.

My hands are small, I know
But they’re not yours, they are my own
But they’re not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken

I think of Jo often, praying she is okay without me there to protect her. I remember the loving twinkle in her eye and somehow that gives me peace. Love almost always conquers hate. Of that much I am certain. Now when I see people hands I pause to respect the love they give instead of the hate.