I remember the excitement of holding the hands of girlfriends in youth.
I remember the connection when holding the hand of the woman I came to love. Not like the others, she remained from day to day.
I remember the tenderness of holding the hands of our babies; small and soft, they grasped your finger.
I thought of hand-holding this morning when listening to a song by David Kauffman — “A Hand to Hold.”
It reminded me of another hand-holding song first heard when I was 8 in 1963 — “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” by The Beatles. The excitement of that song thrilled and laid the foundation for the excitement that would come a few years later when I held the hands of girlfriends.
But, excitement is only part of life. Kauffman’s “A Hand to Hold” points to something deeper.
“Someone asked me what I want, the question sent me spinning off in circles. I could not see. Seems like so much of my time is spent chasing what my mind invents, that my heart lost its way.
“It took stripping away every plan in me to understand the simple things I need, a hand to hold, a heart that knows, a soul that welcomes and makes a whole, a smile that warms what’s grown cold ’til I’ve become a hand to hold.”
To hold a hand is one of the great joys of life. Yes, it can be exciting, but more joyously it can become a true connection with genuine tenderness, and it’s not just about romance. To rephrase Kauffman’s words:
We all need hands to hold.
We all need hearts that know us.
We all need souls that welcome and make us whole.
We all need smiles that warm us when we’ve grown cold.
We need real love, the Jesus kind of love. The love that touches our hearts, warms our souls, makes us whole, and smiles upon our lives.
We can receive these spiritually, directly from our Creator and Sustainer, but we also need to receive these from the people God brings into our life path.
God may touch our spirits, but God knows that flesh is important and needs to be touched, as well. Jesus became flesh so he could actually touch people. What might it have been like to walk a path in Palestine holding the hand of the one who loved perfectly and would one day give that hand to be assaulted in crucifixion?
And, as Kauffman’s song says, when we have been touched and changed, we will “become a hand to hold.” We need others to hold our hands, and others need us — the power of touch.
(David Kauffman has been one of my favorite Christian songwriters for years. “A Hand to Hold” is on his album by that same name.)