Ashy Hands Deserve Love!

I hate to think of myself as a routine person, but I am. I know this because my day is pretty predictable. My food schedule is predictable. What gets me upset is predictable (although some people will say otherwise). What I say when I pick the phone is predictable. In fact, my colleagues at work pride themselves in acting me out.

It is therefore so that there’s a particular spot just outside the gate of my house where I am prompted to deeply sigh every morning. Even as I type this article I can see it play out in some rewind-replay fashion.

My eyes rising from interlocking tiles

A queue of ants marching across doing their famed laborious work

My mind begging me for music

My hands searching for my tangled earphones in my brown leather backpack

Me bringing out my earphones and commencing detangling

My gaze falling on my working hands

I pause

I sigh


This happens everyday.

Everyday, I look at my hands on my way to work or church and they are ALWAYS ashy; like ashy ashy; like I-just-finished-bathing-for-a-CharcoalBaby-with-ashes kind of ashy. And then I make a mental note to ensure that doesn’t happen again tomorrow. But like I said, I stick to my routines.

Anyway, today, this recurring act made me realize something about life because I asked myself: How is it that the hand that moisturizes, is never moisturized? How is it that that which applies oil is ashy?

I am a lotion-evangelist. You cannot be my friend and not be a lotion rubber. YOU MUST MOISTURIZE YOUR BODY! It’s one of the things on my “man-list”. Does he own body lotion? Does he use it on his skin? Is he intentional about ensuring that the lotion nutrients are assimilated into his pores? His face?  His feet?

So yes, part of my daily schedule is to bless my melanin skin with a good amount of body lotion. How then does it happen that the back of my hands are always so ashy. Simple: I focus so much on applying lotion with my palms that I always forget the back of it.

As I reflected on this wise revelation this morning, I realized that same is almost always true of life. There are people around us who constantly give us over and over and over again. They give love and attention and care and forgiveness and understanding and all these lotion-like things. It’s easy to conclude that since they give, they well-roundedly have. But that’s not always true. Perhaps, a following logic from the lotion story will be to tell them to give themselves what they are giving others (as in, the left hand rubbing the right hand with lotion and vice versa). But then, if the idea is that those hands should be cared for/receive care, why can’t someone else do them the honor? Especially if that someone is a recipient of their kindness.
I know there’s a whole movement on giving love and care to people. And this isn’t far off from it. But this thought is pointedly about giving back to people who have given; people who give. Give back that love and care. Give back that forgiving and understanding.

This was a huge reminder for me today. Because although it really sounds weird that we don’t easily love those who love us, or appreciate those who give to us, it’s really just the reality of a heart left in default mode. Be more intentional today about thanking people in your life who do these selfless acts.  And if you’re the one who does these selfless acts, then try to maintain a super healthy mindset and also give to yourself sometimes; care for yourself too.

I will end on an overly motivational-call-to-action way: Think of at least three people who do/have done seemingly ordinary but loving, caring and selfless stuff for/to you. Say a word of prayer for them. Do something to nourish them right back. Get them a greeting card from, call them and tell them what exactly you love that they do, buy them a gift, simply tell them thank you, tell someone to tell them thank you for loving you, tell the world how much you love them!

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