I was looking at my hands today, and suddenly realized that they make an extremely good metaphor for my life.
I have three or four minor cuts from working with file folders every day: that's the same as the little pains or discomforts or hurts we receive every day, just by living in such a sharp-edged world. Most of them are minor, and they may sting for a while, but they heal.
Some leave faint pink scars like the one on my fourth finger, which fade after a few weeks, just like the words that someone spoke in anger and apologized for. It hurt, but we know they didn't mean it, and soon such a minor scar disappears.
There are a few old scars: a raised bit of skin on my right thumb from a scrape, a tiny knot of scar tissue in the palm of my left hand from a bad fall when I was about 9. Some things heal over, but leave their marks on us. A loss, a betrayal, a bad accident, a truly hateful act towards us (or by us).
Then there are the hurts I remember, but which could never be proved from my hands as they are now: yanking my left index finger from under a 50 lb. bucket of grain (the cuticle is perfect now), slamming that same finger in a heavy door (it took months for fine sensation to return, you'd never know), or slicing a fingertip with a bagel knife (there was a scar for a while--it's vanished). Hurts that were bad, and took time to heal, but healed so cleanly it's easy to forget they ever happened.
My hands are dry, not as soft as they could be, but strong and skilled, and even with their few scars, still beautiful. Others are not so lucky, like my coworkers with arthritis, or carpel tunnel syndrome. Sometimes you get far more damage working in this world that just a few folder cuts.
I'm blessed to have experienced both pain and healing, and blessed beyond words that health and strength has been my lot in life so far. That I can use this life, as I use my hands, to write and cook and clean, to work and speak, to reach out, and to give.
Anyway--that's my metaphor for today. :-)