Forty years of finger food.

She started out with lovely hands, just like those of her sisters and friends. Then fear came knocking; and cheerful certainties were replaced with doubt. Her heart wavered, and the pulling started. The assaults crept up, vicious and swiping, creating bloody pain. Though her skin crept bravely back again and again, and relentlessly hopeful sinews showed her a better way, fearfully she attacked, each time swearing it was finished and each time returning to stare balefully at the scene of devastation. Her sister wept unseen, for such frantic sorrow and ugliness.

She learned to sit with her hands folded in, the thumbs covered, to hide ridges of crenelated repulsion, spirals witnessing to her despair. And always, hope reached and grew out again, as her father whispered rebukes or blustered about the state of her.

“What you are seeking is stillness,” said a new friend, who knew: Self-expression allowing smiles to remain open; courage to sing a few wrong notes and stay serene; not swoop to self-hatred for her frailties, but, as another reminded her gently,

May you love yourself completely, and with great kindness, just as you are now, no matter what happens… offering a meditation which is intended to be repeated, until it is believed. Such generous permissions as these, over time extended hope like a new hand, setting her free and renewed, to explore the reality of forgiveness and fresh release. Thus, true silence began and held, gently and then firmly.

Wisdom, so clear and obvious, finally showed her how to be still, how to wait patiently, and with hope. While waiting, her skin knitted quietly and her hands grew peaceful.

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