The hands of a newborn have always been a sight that makes a thunderous swell of emotion swirl within the bottom of my stomach. One day, those hands, although remaining miniature and delicate throughout most of their childhood, will be big hands. Strong hands. Capable hands. Those hands will touch other hands—they will hold hands of loved ones, shake hands with intellectuals, and enclose blessings within the hands of those who need.
Change is perhaps the most terrifying occurrence. I am unsure if this is because I fear change itself or because the outcome of change could be a life in which I feel no different. Change is not something that guarantees a positive or negative ending, and to me, that is the characteristic of something that is untrustworthy, suspicious, and to be avoided.
Without the winds of change, however, the hands of a newborn would never grow big, would never grow old.
When I was eleven years old, I was entranced by the concept of being an adult and growing older. Nothing excited me more than to plan what my life would look like in fifteen years: the ruby red Volkswagen beetle, the sweet-tempered dachshund named Lucy, and Sundays after church spent sipping on sweet tea while swinging my legs over clear, blue water. What I thirsted for was change. This change, unlike the change that makes me suspicious and nervous, is the cloud that I float on constantly during my walks to class and while I drift to sleep. As I float airily on my cloud of dreams and wishes, I see a future in which all my days have a golden honey hue and my hands are steady, strong, and kind.
This was change on my terms. Change that I wanted, change that I wholeheartedly thirsted for. The type that is not doled out like flyers for a new club distributed on a crowded street, but that is sparingly sprinkled upon our lives.
And although I am still yet to be twenty years old, I feel as if such sweet change has already been rationed out to me, and the only change left is the change that has rough edges and deep wounds. As of late, all I can feel is this presence looming over my shoulder and whispering into my ear. The longer he whispers, the more I have realized that he was never changed at all, but insecurity. Change is impartial and without feeling. Insecurity, however, is the enemy of good change, the enemy of progress, the enemy of growing hands.
I feel old and weathered, and insecurity has made a home within my prefrontal cortex. Self-doubt and the prospect of true and unfiltered aging have made me weary of change, and I fear that the love I feel when I see the hands of newborns will slowly turn into bitterness, as my hands seem faulty and unaccomplished.
This past Friday, a day that is usually good, bright, and happy, instead crept on sluggishly, the sky a bleak gray, rain starting and stopping, starting and stopping. As I arrived at my violin lesson late and in a huff, I shared with my teacher the news of my uninvited visitor, and my hesitation with inviting the type of change I cannot control into my life. After listening sweetly and providing some pretty words, she began my lesson and music was made. As I was leaving, still dragging my feet and disappointed in my hands, she stepped out into the hallway, and while offering her goodbyes and pleasantries she left me with a smile and the words: “You are still new.”
While her intention may not have been for me to shake and breathe heavily in the stairwell of the music building, I spent several moments staring down at my hands. Slightly red and cramped from my lesson, they still somehow looked beautiful. They looked new. The tumbling awe that arises within my stomach when I gaze upon the tiny hands of newborns was happening as I looked down at my own hands. Solitude overcame me as I felt insecurity leave his hovel within my mind, and I felt the wind touch my hair as I drove my ruby red Volkswagen down the beach with Lucy panting outside the window and sweet tea in the cup holder. My hands were new, and they had the capability to grow steady, strong, and kind.
A deep and sincere thank you to Mrs. Christine Sasse, a beloved mentor and friend that has guided me this year to love deeper and to trust Jesus in all things.