Yesterday I had to clean out the candle stub from the spring-loaded inner mechanism of the candle lantern. And I made lemon curd, which involves grating lemon zest. And as usual I had porridge for breakfast and of course washed out the pan.
What I notice is how amazing my fingers are for getting things clean. When bits of porridge adhere to the saucepan base, a thumbnail is both better at scratching it loose and better at leaving the metal unscratched – same with cleaning candle-wax off the lantern. Fingers clean the little fiddly lemon zest cling-ons of the grater, and then are easy to wiggle clean in the washing up water. If I use a brush to clean, the zest/porridge simply sticks to the brush. If I use a knife to prise loose the candle wax, it scratches the lantern. Fingers and finger-nails are an extraordinary combination of gentle/soft and strong.
They also have the advantage of being able to feel so acutely, and are therefore most sensitively responsive; the world’s most fine-tuned tools, dexterous and clever beyond description.
I remember reading an article about a child whose arms we blew off in the Iraq war. He was given prosthetic arms and hands with the most complicated mechanisms that gave them a truly impressive range of capabilities. For the person looking at him, they seemed to make everything right again. Bingo! Arms and hands! But . . . but he couldn’t feel anything with them. The ones God made him with were better than the clever prosthetics we fitted him with after our cleverly manufactured clever bombs blew them off in the first place.
365 Day 25 (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)
I loved this and sent it as a special gift to somebody I love. In pursuing simplicity, some things are easy to part with, and others much harder. I find it easier to part with things I want to cling to if I think they will bring joy to someone who in turn brings joy to my heart. Inside the beautiful gold and red drawstring bag is a Buddhist mala – that’s a string of prayer beads. I had it for praying for people when I was travelling on the bus; to hold in my hands as a prayer focus, moving it along through my fingers feeling each bead as a prayer for each individual I held up into the Light.