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I am grateful for my hands.  Earlier this week I read about a writer who lost her hands in a tragic automobile accident.  She had written the last words she would ever write in her life just fifteen minutes prior to that accident.  This writer was able to continue her career but only through the use of a voice-to-text device.  Years ago there was another woman who was kidnapped and taken out to the desert where she was raped, and then the rapist chopped off her hands before fleeing, leaving her in the desert to die. She did not die, but survived and went on to become an artist using prosthetic devices to create her art.  Another woman was in a diving accident while swimming in a lake and was paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of her life.  She, too, became an artist. She holds the brush or pen between her teeth to creates beautiful paintings and drawings.  After reading and remembering these stories I got to thinking about our hands and the many things our hands are used for. As children we grab hold of our parents’ hands for stability, safety, warmth.  We used our small hands to throw balls and draw with crayons.  Our childish—and not so childish—hands molded play doh into all sorts of whimsical forms.  As we grew, our hands were used for writing, for holding on to the handlebars of a bike.  As a mother, my hands have cradled my babes, stroked their hair, felt their temperature, and changed their diapers.  As my children grew, my hands patted their backs both to console when they were heartbroken, and to congratulate for some accomplishment. My hands have held my lover, my husband, my friend and confidant. Hands can cup water to quench a thirst, wash a dish upon which a meal will be served, wave to a friend or signal for help, clinch a fist in anger when injustice strikes.  Hands communicate at times when words will not do.  A hand gesture, a finger to the lip, can quiet a classroom of excited students.  Hands glide over the keys of a piano and we hear wonderful music, or loud noise, whatever the case may be. Hands are tools that no manmade instrument can match when it comes to versatility of use.  We can live without our hands.  It has been done.  But when I think of hands, I marvel at the wonderful gift they are.  I am grateful for hands.



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