Monday, February 9, 2015

Life as an Extended Metaphor

During the children's sermon yesterday, we were asked to examine our hands and pray for God to bless the work they do. So I did. And when you think about it, your hands do an amazing heck of a lot of important things.

Examining my hands closely also reminded me of something I've noticed many times over the last few years: they look like my mother's hands. The backs of them anyway. The same veins sticking out in the same manner. Wrinkles in the same spots. My thumbs curve just like hers did when I stretch my fingers. Yep, I have my mama's hands.

At least in appearance. Not in practice. In a poetry writing class I had to take in college (ugh -- I'm not a poet and don't I know it), I experimented with a piece that was an extended metaphor comparing my mother to a pair of hands. My professor (who was patient and gracious with my efforts) commented that this was kind of a bizarre image, and I suppose it was. But the truth is, my mother is probably best symbolized by her hands.

Hands that cooked meals for her family and for many others.

Hands that sewed clothes and household furnishings and anything else that could be created on a sewing machine.

Hands that crafted macrame plant hangers, quilted casserole carriers, felt Christmas tree ornaments, and pinecone wreaths for our door . . . among countless other items.

Hands that faithfully and consistently kept our small house clean and tidy. (After her death, my sisters and I remarked how we never actually saw her clean the bathrooms, and yet the bathrooms were never dirty . . .)

Hands that pulled weeds in the garden and hung laundry on the line outside.

Hands that smoothed my hair into a bun for ballet class. (Eight years of ballet and I never learned how to do my own hair.)

My mother had a warm smile and a sweet voice. But it is her hands that represent her best.

But as I said, I don't think I inherited those hands. I mean, I don't think my kids will look back on me after I die and remember things I did with my hands. I kinda wish that wasn't the case, because part of me wants so much to be like my amazing mother. But God just didn't make me that way.

I don't know what extended metaphor my children would make of me, but it would be pretty interesting to know. I think they are still too young to answer that question -- as thoughtful and creative as they are, I think you need more life experience and perspective to come up with something like that.

My words, maybe? I have many words. I deal a lot in words. That would definitely put me in contrast with my mother. Yeesh . . . if I am going to be remembered for my words, I may need to close my mouth more often . . .

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