We always made a big deal of the kids turning five. The fact that they could flash a whole hand to state their age instead of struggling to remember which combination of fingers to hold up and down seemed profound. A whole hand meant that they were no longer infants but real boys, akin to Pinocchio’s transformation from puppet to flesh. It is remarkable how necessary the whole hand is for so many things – unscrewing a jar, opening a door, shaking a hand, holding onto something securely, giving a reassuring pat on the back, and even celebrating a job well done. On occasion, that same hand can hurt; it can slap, restrain, and halt our forward progress.
I intended to unleash my soul’s creative force this year through writing, painting or at the very least finishing a number of small decorative projects I’ve been meaning to do. Instead, I’ve been binge watching TV shows after work day after day. I sit in the family room helplessly watching my hands fiddle with the remote until finding something so compelling that my head has no choice but to allow them to remain idle. My head, while at times enchanted and engrossed by the endless stream of shows, has grown increasingly frustrated. It struggles to remain grateful and find joy in what has otherwise been a great year. In addition to being tormented with thoughts and ideas that have no place to go, the head is shocked to have lost control of an essential limb. The head was used to having to reason with a heart easily led astray by emotion but it thought it could always rely on the hands even more so than the feet that were known to bark when tired. It never imagined the hands could muster such blatant disregard for direction.
With the head and hands at odds, the heart was able to think for once and realized the head wasn’t being honest about its problem with the hands. The truth is that the head cannot acknowledge the hands. If it did, it would see a palm with five fingers and be reminded that five long years have evaporated in an instant. It would realize that when the second palm opens, Gus will have been gone for as long as he was here and the head cannot fathom that future. The heart then observed that the hands do not wish to be so inactive, but are paralyzed by guilt and loss. The hands miss wrapping themselves around that child’s hands and rubbing his feet. They long to hold the boy again not realizing that in just a few days he would have been sixteen and unlikely to submit to a mother’s caress. They can’t stop blaming themselves failing to heal or having enough strength to rip him from death’s grip.
I suppose it is up to my heart to bring the hands and head back together again. The heart must find the will to beat strong and loud enough for the palm to feel it pumping through the chest and the head to hear it pulsing in its ears. In the meantime, I will sit back and watch one more episode of…..