I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.”
First of all, thank you a thousand times for all the wonderful birthday wishes and support for doing this crazy 365 day project. I’ve been receiving so many messages from people all over the world. I feel incredibly loved and most of all, very blessed. To have so many people around me that care about me, that support me. You don’t know how much it means to me. I am very, very grateful.
Writing these first blogs made me think about what I am actually expecting from this 365 day project. Today I am writing a post to read back on the days when I am going to think about why in the world I wanted to do this in the first place a.k.a. the days that I wish I would have never started this in the first place. Today’s picture was taken by Bauke this summer in Bern, Switzerland (if you’re reading this, thank you!). I didn’t even notice him taking it. It’s just me with open hands. Enjoying the cold, cold water from the Swiss mountains. Open hands to discover that I am not what I own, but what I receive. I hope that this project will be a gift that I can receive with open hands.
Having your hands open to receive, reminds me of when Maria in the Sound of Music said that if God closes a door somewhere, he opens a window somewhere. That woman, Julie Andrews, is a personal hero of mine by the way. I mean, being Maria in the Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and being able to sing like that? She is pretty awesome. I adore both films, because of the character of the ladies. Not are they just strong, creative women with a warm heart and a love for family, they have an openness to receive. I found two movie stills where that is clearly visible. The open hands. Opening up worlds of imagination.
Yet life isn’t always like a Disney movie. I don’t wear coats and dresses with waist lines like Maria and Mary everyday. Neither do fairy tale weddings with handsome captains Von Trapp happen every day. I guess most of the time, I am much closer to what Henri Nouwen describes. Insecure about opening up my hands. Because that means you have to let go of your safety, your comfort and the familiar. Opening up your hands means lifting up your head. Being willing to see what is out there. The unknown.
As a little girl I was taught to pray with my hands intertwined and my fingers closed together. There’s a definitely a point to that. For me these movements of closing your eyes and folding your hands together symbolize concentration and a psychical gesture of humility. Yet as I am getting older, I have started to pray with open hands. To physically demonstrate that I do not own anything in this world. That I can’t just hold on to my own fear and insecurity, because when I let go, my hands will be free and open. Ready to receive.