Growing up with an older brother in the 70s meant I came to experience a phenomenon called, “The Clench”.
It was the privilege of being cornered and subjected to a series machine gun punches in the stomach while he yelled,”Muhammad Ali, Frasier”, “In The Clench”… For dessert a few breadbasket and head shots…I could not escape.
Over the years I discovered “The Clench” had taken up new residence. Looking down at my own hand, There it was, A tightly clenched fist. White knuckled with stress, anxiety, anger, worry, A five fingered barometer of silent storms raging inside. Such is life, internal storms, wrought with an intense feeling of wanting revenge on those who had hurt, abused or neglected me.
I could not escape….
When I was 16, while my Dad drove truck, I would ride shotgun. I remember his tattooed hand resting on the gear shifter, his last two digits permanently curved. His fingers had been damaged as a result of smashing his hand through a drivers side car window during one of his many altercations. He chose to fight. His closed fist meant he wasn’t open to a discussion.
Given his life story, it was not surprising
Historically an open hand was a sign of peace. When you approached an unknown, showing and raising an open hand demonstrated that you bore no weapon and meant no harm.
Even Christs’ open hands as decpicted in Byzantine art, with the thumb and first two fingers open and last two digits just slightly closed emerged as the sign of a blessing.
Look down at your hand. Is your fist tight? Deep down is your spirit silently screaming “I’ve had enough “?
May I propose that an open hand can not only symbolize peace but also a willingness to surrender.
Surrender my friend. Surrender all the burdens that weigh you down
Breathe in slowly. Breathe out.
Surrender. Take a moment and drop your weapon and open your hands and experience a moment of peace.
Take a moment to know that no matter what is going on in your life, you are alive and worthy of love.
An open hand is a sign of acceptance of reality. It doesn’t mean you have to like the circumstances. It simply means you are willing to deal with them.
As a believer in the teachings of Christ , I’ve found the simple act of opening my hands and raising them during worship, creates a conduit which allows the stresses of the world to escape. When I open my hands, I open my mind and eventually perhaps symbolically open my heart to experience Gods Holy Spirit of Love for which I beieve we were created.
Be still and know He is God. Psalm 46:10