The most important thing I did today was hold someone’s hand.
It was a hand gnarled and twisted with pain, a hand that gripped mine as the soul and body’s hurt issued outward through quiet groans and whimpering.
It was the hand of a stranger. A person who had called for someone, anyone, and I happened to be the one at the other end of the phone.
They did not know they wanted me, they just knew they needed someone.
As I sat with them, I asked what they wanted, what they needed. And what they needed was not to talk, but to sit, to be touched and seen. To have their hand held as they struggled through their pain and fear and sense of being alone.
It was a holy moment.
A moment where I remembered that this is the reason for being here. That this is worth the disinterest and the brush-offs. That for every 10 passing conversations, God intervenes with a situation so holy it takes my breath away.
God was not in the conversation, but God was in the room.
He was in the stillness, in the grip, in the quiet voice of caregivers, in the fluttering of eyelids and the recognition between strangers that this was a space where names didn’t matter, but presence did.
And my heart broke and rejoiced all at the same time.
And I felt, in that moment, the certain experience of being the present hands and feet of Jesus. All the medicine in the world could not do in that moment what hands could.
What a gift.
To be the living and breathing presence of God’s spirit to people who don’t know him, who don’t necessarily want to hear about him. But the hands are there.
So often I wrestle with the reality that much of what I do is less about words and more about action. I’m a words person, speaking and writing, and so much of my wiring is orientated to making Christ known through word.
But God is stretching me to know that the holy is found in deed. That making him known expands beyond the words of my mouth to the care by my hands.
As I held the hand of this fellow journeyer, I meditated on the idea that how often we offer the prescription of salvation through our words when it is the deed that shows his love.
I could not offer cure but I could offer comfort.
It was not the time for me to expound on my faith, it was the time to sit silently and be present. The invasion of my words, any words, into that sacred space would have been self-serving rather than serving.
But I know God was there in our enfolded hands.
He was there in the most basic and comforting of ways. If you know me you know that my hands are NEVER warm. They aren’t capable of it on their own.
But today they were warm, inexplicably warm. And this brought comfort, my hands that were ‘so warm’, to hands that were frigid in their pain.
God uses the heat of our hands and the Holy Spirit within our hearts to show who he is. He uses the words of our mouth and the silence of our moments to share his love.
In the moment, it’s not about prescription, not about cure, it’s about the still presence of the Holy Spirit, our comforter. And in that Holy space we learn how to travel with one another.