I am at hand if needed....

by Lucy-Jayne Hodges

I'm at hand if needed....

Homo sapiens, the most developed of the mammalian class, why?..... As we're often told in our early years, the important factor in evolution was the development of the opposable thumb. Millions of years later and the feature that initially enabled us to grip has lead us to perform a multitude of skilled work from cooking, construction and surgery to writing and communicating.

The non-verbal communication that can be transferred from hand to hand is, in many ways, as significant as any of the highly skilled work that can be performed using that hand. As a child, we reached out for our parents' hand; in what was then (and maybe sometimes now!) a very big and threatening world, the parents' hand would provide safety and guidance.

In many cultures throughout the world, the initial greeting is the handshake. As my father taught me as a young girl, a lot can be obtained from a handshake: it is a sign of respect, a 'gentleman's' handshake can vouch for your word, the strength of handshake can even reflect on your personality. Variations on the traditional handshake can demonstrate your belonging to a specific cultural group, fraternity, or 'gang'.

In fearful situations, even simply riding a roller-coaster or when watching a scary film, we often reach for the hand of our companion. I know that holding a persons hand will not make the roller-coaster slow down or make the film any less scary, but somehow knowing someone is with you makes the ride much smoother.

If you look around you, you can see the number of couples of all ages walking hand-in- hand. It is likely that the handholding is not to publicly display their affection but more to feel their own connection, admiration and even love for each other. It is not uncommon for an individual to ask for another's 'hand in marriage', requesting that person's hand as an indication that they want to go through everything that life has to offer together.

I know that, thus far, I have led a pain-free life compared to many others, but reflecting back on the low points I'm aware there was always someone there to hold my hand. When faced with the opportunity to say good-bye to loved ones, what words couldn't say a held hand said it all.

We all have many aspirations for our futures, to learn new skills, expand our knowledge and to pass on what we learn to others. Along with the acquisition of new dexterity and proficiency in skilled jobs, I hope to remember the fundamentals of unspoken communication with others and to have someone to hold my hand on the way!

Lucy-Jayne Hodges

Reflection

When presented with the assignment to produce a piece of creative writing for this course I found it extremely difficult. To think of a topic and initiate the writing process was the hardest part. I had no previous experiences relevant to my own personal or family life that I could, or would want to write about and share with others in this way. Consequently I wanted to write more about an observation of human nature in general, that I could link in with some of my own personal experiences.

Whole Person Care