An Open Hand Or A Clenched Fist


The sound of the alarm bell startled me.  For one thing, I was already through the scanner at the airport before the alarm sounded.  For another thing, I had carefully emptied all of my pockets before walking through the scanner.  They’d be hard pressed to find anything on me that would indicate otherwise.  As though he was reading my mind, the man said: “The alarm is simply signaling the need for a routine check.  Would you hold both of your hands out, palms up? 


I complied with his request, but had the thought: “What if I said ‘No’?”  Besides that, “What was the stuff he was rubbing all over the palm of my hands?”  It is not that I’m a half-baked conspiracy theorist (half-baked are the most irrational), but it was fairly obvious that I had nothing in my hands.  They were devoid of any instruments that could orchestrate mass destruction or pose a threat of any kind. 


Maybe I’m wrong?  I guess anyone’s hands could have the potential to cause pain for another.  For example, what if instead of complying with the man’s request to hold both of my hands out, I had opted to clinch my hands into a fist and punched the man in the face?  Had that happened, you’d probably not be reading my blog this morning. Of course the story written about the incident would have gained a readership far beyond the number of people who regularly read my blog. I guess the price of notoriety has an advantage, but I think I’ll pass.


Not that it matter’s to anyone, I did a quick Google search and discovered 25 ways to kill someone using nothing but your bare hands. I quickly scanned the article, but I didn’t take any notes.  I’d much prefer my hands be used to wipe a tear from a child’s face, to comfort someone by holding them close or to lend a helping hand to a friend in need.


Wednesday night my youngest grandson accidently pinched his hand by catching it in the shower door as the door closed.  He was crying when he came downstairs and saying through a veil of tears that his hand hurt.  Granddad immediately came to the rescue. 


Jake looked startled when I verbalized the need for him to quickly raise his hand as high as he could above his head.  I immediately stood up and demonstrated for him what that looked like.  In fact, I playfully suggested that he raise both hands as high as he could above his head.  I did the same with mine.  “Higher”, I instructed with even more playfulness in my voice. “You’ve got to get your hands higher”! 


He stretched to get his hands higher. I spiritedly instructed: “If you want to stop your hand from hurting you’ve got to get it as far above your heart as you can explaining it has something to do with the blood flow.  Do it now! Lift those hands higher.”  If you didn’t know better, you’d have thought we were practicing for a Pentecostal worship service.  By this time the tears were gone and Jake was laughing.  So was granddad.


Getting back to my hand-scan at the airport, the security person and I both stood-by in silence as he inserted the sample from the palm of my hands into a machine.   A short time later, the light on the machine turned green and I was good to go.  I guess you could say, “I passed with flying colors”.


Making my way to the appropriate gate for the first leg of my flight, I had the thought: “The General was right”.  I know, she’s always right. How could I ever possibly question that reality?  Thursday night she asked what time I was leaving for the airport.  I told her I needed to get up at 3:00 a.m. in order to leave by 4:00.  She simply shook her head.  She then surprised me.  She asked: “Why didn’t you take the direct flight?  It arrives two hours later than the time you’re scheduled to arrive, but you’d at least get a night’s sleep.”


So her questioning the time of my departure was a set-up. She wanted the opportunity to tell me my flight selection was flawed.  She had a point.  Due to a work related event, I didn’t get home from work on Thursday night until shortly after 9:00 p.m.  In terms of my priorities, I’ll cheat sleep to get my blog written before I opt not to write my blog.  Consequently, it was after midnight before I made my way to bed.  When the alarm sounded less than three hours later, I was anything but rested.  But the good news is I was off on an adventure.  An hour and a half later I had an affirmation at the airport that my hands were good to go.


Thinking of hands, I remembered the story of the wise old man: 

High in the Himalayan mountains lived a wise old man.  Periodically, he ventured down into the local village and had the reputation of being a man of thoughtfulness and wise counsel.

 A few boys from the village decided to play a joke on the wise old man and discredit his special abilities.  One boy came up with the idea to capture a bird and hide it in his hands. He knew of course, the wise old man would know the object in his hands was a bird.

 The boy devised a plan.  Knowing the wise old man would correctly state the object in his hands was a bird, the boy would ask the old man if the bird was dead or alive. If the wise man said the bird was alive, the boy would crush the bird in his hands, so that when he opened his hands the bird would be dead.

But, If the wise man said the bird was dead, the boy would open his hands and let the bird fly free. So no matter what the old man said, the boy would prove the old man a fraud.

 The following week, the wise old man came down from the mountain into the village. The boy quickly caught a bird and cupping it out of sight in his hands, walked up to the wise old man and asked, ‘Old man, old man, what is it that I have in my hands?’

 The wise old man said, ‘You have a bird, my son.’ And he was right.  The boy then asked, ‘Old man, old man, tell me: Is the bird alive or is it dead?’  The wise old man looked at the boy, thought for a moment and said, ‘The bird is as you choose it to be.’”


What is true of the boy is true of each of us. Life can be what we make it. God has given each of us a great gift – life.  The choice is ours.  We have great power in our hands.


All My Best!




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