Knuckles

BriefEssaysOnDrillBits

Try folding your hands. No, not like that. Not the face-to-face approach of palms followed by alternating interlocking ten fingers ― that strangely possessive hand-clenching taught to children. Really, you can’t fold a hand. You can bend it crisply, certainly, and I recommend this as a practice in appreciating knuckles, which really are magical beasts and often go by traditionally feminine names (thumb knuckles demonstrate unusually high percentages of Jeanette and Vanessa) and without whom everything (all!) would be so very different. Get to know your knuckles.   But to fold your hands like white paper ― that’s an awkward argument between semantics and physics and phalanges. Which is not unlike my awkwardness at praying these days, even with open hands, even with four hands (mine and my love’s) to disperse and share the burden of strangeness. I Googled “prayer alternatives for slightly dissatisfied Protestant couples.” Which produced Wikipedia’s Christian Science entry, Why Would a Protestant Convert to Eastern Orthodox, and Divorce – Crisis Magazine. I rolled my eyes and closed the browser window.   When I state “Dear God” I can’t tell if I am saying “and then” or “have you” or “eat more” ― not meaningless, certainly, but lacking the grandeur even of a dinner roll. Yet the action of being here exceeds a golden-robed sourdough emerging from a glowing stone oven, is an action I want deeply and habitually: to place myself in the Hands of the bigger picture, to call myself to humility and gratitude, to tune a busy brain toward hope and be aware of the people I love most ― and to do this all with my sweetheart, to hear together and hum back in complementary tones, a great beauty and rare privilege. “Dear God” doesn’t come close to expressing that, to heralding or effecting that, but then neither does playing an imaginary xylophone… and however much these or any other language rankle my vision of the Ideal, I know at least I must try, must look down at my knuckle-replete hands, and open my mouth, and speak.

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