Monday, March 16, 2015

my hands

I've never been 'handy'. I can't fix or build things. My father couldn't either so I never had a way to learn. One of my uncles made wonderful furniture and another built his house from the ground (or basement, actually) up. But not me. I can't do that stuff. I wish I could, but I can't. Bern is the 'handy-woman' in our house. She fixes lots of things. And she can do art. Every Christmas she gives me a piece of art she made for me (one even building me a table in the shape of West Virginia--quite an accomplishment if you know what West Virginia looks like!!) I give her something written--a long poem or short story.

When I think of it, the only thing my hands are good for is to type....

Last week in Plymouth, I began to think about my hands in a new way.

We were playing cards, three of us, with a set of cards made totally out of plastic, instead of paper cards coated in plastic. So, they were very stiff and I found myself struggling with shuffling them.

One of my friends, playing with us, said, "my hands are shot...." She went on to demonstrate that arthritis kept her from making a fist and made her hands not very adroit at small motor skill things.

I've had two bad (9 and 7 stitches 'bad') on two different fingers. I also have some very obvious arthritis in my fingers that is sometimes numbing and sometimes painful and always awkward.

I had thought of myself as simply clumsy--dropping things, not being able to open things, not having a strong grip, (cutting my fingers!) and, in general, having 'all thumbs' in lots of ways.

But when Sherry said that about her hands, I suddenly realized I'm been blaming myself for ineptitude when using my hands (like a moral failure) rather than simply a physical reality.

I can touch five of my finger tips to my palm--but neither index finger or my right hand's second finger--but it would be dreaming to say I can 'make a fist'. Eight of my fingers have little knots on them--which Sherry told me was proof of having arthritis.

You might think realizing my hands 'are shot' would depress me. But you don't know my ability to see empty glasses 'half-full'.

I really feel relieved that my hands are failing me rather than that I am failing my hands.

Knowing there is a physical reason for my clumsiness is much better than thinking (as I have until now) that I was somehow failing to pay attention or work hard enough.

I'm saddened about how my hands are shot. But it's a relief to know why finally. I don't know why I didn't realize it before trying to shuffle to deal for 500 rummy....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.