When I was scrolling through Facebook last night, I came across two pictures that hit me right in the heart. The first one was of a pair of friends, arms outstretched, holding hands. In the second picture, one of those friends had clearly pulled the other friend to her side and they were standing shoulder-to-shoulder, their hands still clasped. Such a precious expression of friendship.
I couldn’t help but think of all the times I had held that same hand. How many times had that friend reached out and grabbed my hand in a show of friendship, support, comfort, love? How many prayer circles have I been in, clasping one of her hands? I miss those hands. I miss my friend.
The caption with those pictures said the same thing, “I miss my friend.” We lost her to a illness that was swift and relentless. That left a lot of us missing her, missing her hands, missing the love they conveyed.
What is it about hand holding that makes it so special? As children, our parents hold our hands when we’re scared, when we’re in a crowd, when we’re misbehaving, when we’re crossing the street. As little girls, we hold hands with our friends. (Can’t speak for boys. I’ve never been one!) When we get old enough for a girlfriend or boyfriend, holding hands is often the first expression of like, if not love. It almost always is a sweet expression of affection.
But, there’s something extra special about the hand of a friend. Those moments when words were useless and a friend slipped her hand into mine are some of my favorites. Without opening our mouths, we can say, “I love you.” “I’m here.” “I support you.” “I’m praying.” “I’m sorry.” “I bring comfort.” “Hold on, I need to tell you something.” “You’re my friend.” I have found that a friend who is willing to reach out and take my hand can touch my heart in a way that no one else can.
We didn’t invent hand holding, you know. As with all the best things in life, God came up with it first. Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.'” Psalm 37:4 says, “When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” Psalm 73:23 says, “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.”
Wait. God…the One Who created the universe, the Almighty, the Alpha and Omega….will hold my hand? What an amazing thought! And, to me, it makes the hand holding of a friend that much more precious!
So, in the words of Diana Ross, “reach out and touch somebody’s hand.”
Be blessed and tell someone you love them. (And maybe hold their hand.)