Monday, June 14, 2010

Healing Hands

I dragged/drug (?) Taylor to church yesterday.  Not only did I take him to church, we had a little road trip to Montreat, NC, so we could worship with a thousand other Presbyterians at the Montreat Conference Center.  The guest minister was a man  known in national and international circles as “the preacher’s preacher,” the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes. He was quite eloquent I must say.  Plus, I was just ready to be there. I think it sort of matters how we show up at any event or to any situation or gathering.  An open heart and mind is just so much easier to mold and mend and let stuff in than when we've got that iron door pulled down over us.  So, yeah, I was ripe to be ministered to. (Is it ok to end with a prepostion there---ministered to?)   Taylor does not like church per se.  Because we don't go anymore, he is always on his best behavior when we find our way into a sanctuary of any kind.  He knows there will be singing and that we have to sit still for a while.  He's still not sure about marry and bury and just regular, plain 'ole, "we're just at church now" kind of thing.  I cry pretty much every time I'm in a church, so Taylor gets no clues from me about the poignancy level of the service.  It's all a service to me.
  But I am dragging you along too.  Stick with me.  At one point in the service, Dr. Forbes asked us to hold out our hands  in front of us and look at them.  Because Taylor had not been doing the standing and singing much up to that point, I was caught a bit off guard when he joined in; Taylor, like having heard his own name being called,  put his sweet litle hands out in front of himself  to examine them.
Dr. Forbes would go on to invite us and encourage us and challenge us to use our hands---connected to our hearts and God and love and our callings within---to use our hands for healing and service.   This preacher's preacher, convinced that we are all healers,  beckoned us to use our hands to heal---to heal relationships, to heal yucky parts of our jobs, to heal wounds from our past--and present.  All the while, we looked at our hands--each person's hands/gifts/tools right out in front of ourselves----looked at our hands as a real and vital connection that can touch, calm, become a balm---and healer to people whose paths we cross. 
(Yes, I was moved.)
   I put my hand on the deep scar of Taylor's neck.  "Heal him," I prayed.  Here are my hands.  Here is my prayer.  And then I felt Taylor's hand on my face---on my cheek---just brushing at that tear he saw.  All of these years I have taken Taylor "in" for healing---Lord knows we've been to every western and eastern medicine man and religious person that I can find on the map.   But what was clotted up in my stomach on Sunday morning was not my own hands used for healing.....but Taylor's.  What about his hands?  What about how he uses his touch (and gentleness and kindness and love) for healing?  As I watched him in his own precious reverent way hold out his hands as if he were hearing a call very special and particular to his life, I was struck silent and still.  All of these years I have yearned and begged and pleaded and prayed for Taylor's healing---physical healing from pain.  But yesterday I was startled into seeing how Taylor's hands are his gifts too---his gifts and tools for healing.   Why had I not expected him to join in and have something to offer?  Why had I assumed that the service--the message was only for me (and the other 1000 people in that sanctuary) and not for him?   Why do I need to be reminded so often and so vividly that Taylor has his own holy journey?  Why am I hogging this show?
        I know good and well that some of you are just like me.  We decide who has worth or who has more worth or less worth---whose life is more important or meaningful or valuable.  I think I probably have a ranking order (please God tell me it's not a conscious thing!) for other people on this planet.  I bet you $10.00 that I am not alone in this.  So, let me just ask you this: Are outstretched, giving, healing hands all valuable?  Are some more so than others?  "Hmmmmm" is the only answer I will allow myself right now.
And I look at the picture of my sister's hands making a puzzle with Taylor.   Healing hands.  Hands that bring a gift, a touch, comfort, reassurance, help, kindness.   Taylor examined his hands yesterday.  He, too, seemed to be reminded that he has something to offer.
You can't hear me singing, but I am. 
Offer your hands and all to which they are connected--your heart, your skills, all that you know, your hope.  Your hands.