December 7, 2020
An excerpt from her book-in-process, Place, Sit, Stay – (not just for dogs!), by Janet Jones. A pondering on how training her dog has informed her spiritual growth.
HANDS ARE EVERYTHING!
By Janet Jones
“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 145:15-16 (NIV)
A deepening insight is how the relationship between a dog and a human has so much to do with hands! I begin to imagine how my dog Cookie pays close attention to my hands, watching to see what my hands will do next. Offer a treat? Give a command? A soft stroke on the head, a rub to the chest? Maybe a scrub down with suds and water? For her, all these actions begin with this funny looking blob on the end of a long limb, and it has five – also funny looking – moveable sticks that are attached to the blob at the end of the limb. She watches these fleshy fingered blobs as they will signal what I want; they are a line of communication between us. One of my favorite games is “Touch.” In this game. Cookie follows my hand with her nose and then a soft touch to my palm. My hand goes right, then left, and she dances with me back and forth, the soft, cool tip of her nose kissing my hand each time. This game always makes me smile! We are in the dance – my leading, her following, we are in sync! I laugh with pure delight at the end of this game and feel so happy. We have crossed the span between species and are connected in spirit! Joy! Hands can do so many things and communicate so much! James Howell, in his book, Yours Are The Hands of Christ, asks his readers to acknowledge the literal, physical hands of Christ. The enfleshed hands of Spirit. Hands that physically communicated God’s Divine Heart as he touched eyes, washed feet, broke bread. What would it have felt like to have been touched by the flesh and blood hands of Jesus? The only way I know this is through flesh-and-blood hands in my own material world. I give my imagination room to explore. It gives me pause and I recall how much I love to look at my brother’s hands. They are beautiful hands to me. Strong, masculine, bony in places, soft in others. They contain the same DNA as mine. I see my father’s hands when I look at them. They are such capable hands and I love when they enfold mine. My brother’s hands express his loving heart to me, but even more, they can be an expression of the loving heart of Christ. Am I open to this kind of reality? Will I allow myself to accept the love of Christ through human hands? Will I also be mindful of my own hands and allow them to be used for the love of Christ in the world?
“Take my hands and let them move, at the impulse of thy love, take my feet and let them be, swift and beautiful for Thee, swift and beautiful for Thee.”
Hymn: “Take My Life and Let It Be”