I always used to imagine how horrifying it would be to have my teeth broken out or my head shaved or become blind or deaf. Just recently, though, I realized how insignificant all of those issues would be compared to having my hands cut off.

In a practical sense, I could no longer do many of the activities I enjoy or are necessary in one’s normal daily life. I would be unable to write, draw, paint, hit a volleyball, catch a football, eat with utensils, pick up objects, wash my hair, put on makeup, bench-press, push, pull, point, wash dishes, vacuum, bake cookies, dig, climb trees, wear rings, play violin, turn the pages of a book, etc., etc.

In a relational sense, the concept becomes even more frightening. I could no longer hug the same way, hold someone’s hand, give a handshake, tap someone’s shoulder, give a reassuring pat on the back, catch someone in a fall, push a kid on a swing, braid hair, massage sore shoulders, clap for another, poke annoyingly,tend a wound, help someone up, give a high-five, wave goodbye…


Isn’t it a wonder that so much of our livelihood is dependent on two small pieces of flesh and ten fingers? Not just in what we do, but in how we relate with each other? Maybe that’s why babies freak out when they finally recognize the existence of their hands…

So go ahead and cut off my nose or punch out my eye, but please…please let me keep my hands.


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