Human Hands

A feature of our humanness we rarely mention and give little attention to is our two hands. We depend on them constantly and take them for granted. Only when by accident or illness we lose the use of a hand do we come to understand how valuable it is.

We use our hands ceaselessly. I’m using mine at this moment to type this blog post. Periodically I pause to pick up my coffee cup and carry it to my lips. If I itch, I scratch with my fingers. Later, I’ll rely on my hands to fetch the delivered newspaper, cook and eat my breakfast, and dress myself. If I decide to make music today, I’ll use my fingers to play the piano or pluck the guitar. Even when I’m reading, I depend on my hand to hold the book and turn the pages. The only activities I engage in that don’t require use of the hands are thinking and sleeping.

We humans share manual dexterity with other primates, but our hands are better developed and more able than those of any species. Our opposable thumb is longer, compared to finger length, than that of any other primate. Our long thumb with its ability to easily touch the other fingers allows us to firmly grasp and manipulate objects of many different shapes. The human hand can grip with strength and with fine control, so it can grasp and lift a dead weight, throw a stone, or write words.

We humans are anything but self-conscious. We give no attention to our feet and legs that carry us about nor to our senses that allow us to communicate with and live in our world. Our bodies are miracles incarnate, but we pay them no mind. And our hands, perhaps the most miraculous of all, are ignored.

God, if there is a god, must find us a source of constant amusement.

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