Sunday, December 12, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about hands lately. Not just because I have giant man hands. (no joke- my high school coach said it was the first thing she noticed about me. Awesome) I've noticed that there is power in hands. There is meaning in hands. Messages are sent in hands. Assumptions are made based on hands. They have the power to destroy or create or utterly humiliate. I have been finding this to be true in many different circumstances.

I have seen the power of hands after each basketball game. My team probably talks more about the post-game hand-shaking line than any other team. This line offers so much potential for awkwardness and since I have such a love of awkward moments, this is beginning to rub off on my girls. I once dared a player to give the opposing coach a side hug rather than a high five and she did! I was so proud. Then in a recent game one of my girls dressed in street clothes and since she looks much older than her little 16 years, the other coaches assumed she was a coach and shook her hand rather than giving the traditional coach/player high five. She was ecstatic and I made her pretend to be a coach the next few games to see what others would do; they fell for it and we fell over laughing. Oh the little victories in life.

To further illustrate the awkward breeding ground that is the post-game hand-shake line, let me tell you about my dear friend Katie. She is a fellow coach and fellow lover of all that is awkward. She shook hands with the opposing coach and went to say the traditional "post game encouragement" line such as: "Hey, you've got a great team," and "Good luck to you this year", or "You guys are really good." What did Katie say? "You good guy." I love that. I wish I could have witnessed it. It reminds me of this Brian Regan clip.

In case you've never played a team sport, after the game each team yells the opposing team's name and then lines up and gives each other high fives and says, "good game." However, coaches don't high five each other. Those are reserved only for players. We shake hands. It sends a different message than merely slapping some skin and enables us to exchange a few additional pleasantries.

Most head coaches are older men and since I'm a young, often frazzled-looking girl, I try to prove my maturity by giving them an extra firm handshake. The problem I face, however, is this- I use a green white board marker to draw up plays and in the heat of the game, I never remember to use the eraser and just wipe the board clean with my hand. This leaves me with a green-stained hand by the end of the game, occasional green smudges on my face and clothes and leaves me feeling a bit self-conscious as I go to slap hands with the other team looking like Kermit the Frog. I fear my green hand sends the message, "I'm a bit of a hot mess," which, truth be told, isn't totally inaccurate according to my team.

I found a new power in hands last night as we shook hands with a team that beat us. They are better than us. No shame in losing. But then their assistant coach went and clenched my hand too soon, before I could get a grip. This annoyed me and sometimes I react like a 12 year-old so I got my revenge on the head coach. I grabbed the tips of his three fingers and clenched. I clenched hard. And then I shook those three fingers like it was totally normal but surely it must have been painful. "Sure, you beat us by 15 but how are your fingers feelin now, sucka?" Revenge sure can be sweet. (note: I never call people "sucka" in real life)

I've also found the power of hands whenever holding hands during prayer. The other day I was out to breakfast with a bunch of girls I didn't know very well. We went to bless the food and some girl more affectionate than I decided we should hold hands. So I linked up with the girl next to me whom I had never met. We did the "3 second dance" trying to figure out whose hand would go where and then successfully linked with only one little awkward chuckle. But then some girls got distracted. And then the waiter started bringing our food. And pretty soon just the two of us were left holding hands and I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to appear rude and release her hand and make her feel awkward. "Surely everyone else will relink in just a second," we both thought. But as seconds passed, it became more and more obvious that we were strangers holding hands for no reason. Neither of us wanted to cave. Neither of us wanted to acknowledge the awkwardness. But we finally looked at each other and laughed and released...only to link up 30 seconds later. I then gave her the squeeze at the end of the prayer.

I cannot help but do the "amen squeeze." I think it's encouraging and clarifies that, "yes, I see that the prayer is officially over and we can release hands now." It's a habit. But I don't squeeze men's hands. I fear it sends the wrong message. Girls, however, will always receive a squeeze from me, regardless if I know you or not. I thought nothing of this squeeze until my girls started fighting about who has to stand next to me at the end of practice when I pray for us. They've started squeezing back and squeezing hard. Oh the power of hands.

I found the power of hands when I watched this YouTube clip as I researched "slam poetry." Kim, my new blogging friend, introduced me to the poetry and I love it. She challenged me to write my own and though I'm certainly no poet and wrote something that probably doesn't fall under the genre of "slam poetry", the writing process was surprisingly therapeutic. I mention in my poem the image of me nestled in the Father's giant, cracked hands. See, hands have been on my mind.

I found the power of hands when I heard the song, "In Better Hands" by Natalie Grant. (warning: if you watch the video and you're a girl, have tissues ready. I was not prepared. ) Here are some of the lyrics:

There is hope when my faith runs out
Cause I'm in better hands now

It's like the sun is shining when the rain is pouring down.
It's like my soul is flying though my feet are on the ground.
So take this heart of mine, there's no doubt
I'm in better hands now.

I am strong, all because of you.
I stand in awe of every mountain that you move.
I am changed, yesterday is gone.
I am safe from this moment on.

There's no fear when the night comes 'round
Cause I'm in better hands now.
I also found the power of hands when I read Psalm 95:3-5 which says:

3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his HAND are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his HANDS formed the dry land.

The creator of the universe holds the depths of the earth and the depths of my heart in His giant, all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful hands. Wow. No wonder the psalmist goes on to say:

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Yes, being in His hands causes me to worship, causes me to rejoice and dance and sing and rest. Hands are certainly powerful. But HIS are the most.


  1. This is great, Katie. I so love how you pay such good attention in life. AND, by the way folks, the poetry Katie submitted was breathtakingly beautiful.
    CLick on over and take a look and then help me to make Katie keep writing such for us all time to time.

  2. oh my, I very much enjoyed your blog as well. we are in such good hands, always, you are right.

    It makes me think of this verse:

    Blessed is the Lord.
    Day by day He supports us,
    God, our deliverance.

    (psalm 68).

    blessings on you today.