Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Gardener's Hands

"When someone says that they are a gardener, and their hands are never dirty, I have suspicions" Martha said to me as we walked through the darkness after a lecture at Westmont College. Martha often shoots out random thoughts she has mulled over and phrased carefully. That's why after 32 years of marriage, our conversations are never boring!
When I asked what brought that on, she mentioned about a conversation with a woman who went on and on about how much of a gardener she is, and she has beautifully manicured hands and fancy nails. "Someone does her gardening for her, with hands like that" Martha commented.
Dirty hands count for Martha. She is a printmaker. Every day around lunch the house smells of kerosene and hot ground that she coats on her plates. When she is inking, the cracks in the skin of her hands are etched with dark ink. And her fingernails betray indellible traces of ink on them. Martha has an artist's hands. She also gets them dirty in the garden. Her vocation and avocation are marked on her.
I wonder where a pastor's marks are. What marks us for what we do (other than expanding waist-lines from too many long lunches)? Are we marked by the crease lines around our eyes from smiling with others. Are our teeth smoothed off from grining through interminably long meetings? Are our eyes etched with the pain of others? Does the tone of our voice reflect words of compassion or judgement? Is our posture of victory and joy, or road-weary tedium? Where do you bear the marks?


At 4:53 AM , Blogger Chris Brooks said...

My marks are the scars on my heart. The scars from seeing kids I was a Shepherd over in prison, or in another bad situation. My hands are dirty, surely, but my heart bears my deepest and purest burdens.

At 3:50 PM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...

more often than not, my marks are on my hands - despite being a gadget guy, i find myself continually writing notes and reminders with a pen on the tops of my hands.

also, white board marker residue on my palms from meetings (really, why do they bother to make dry erase erasers anyways).

Then of course, there are the battle wounds of keyboard warrior, code wrangler and internet cowboy; carpel tunnel and glasses... i avoid the former with ergo keyboards but the later degrades with age.


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