In my post Wednesday (A Call to Reconcile: The Bird), I discussed my experience of being told I was number 1 by a fellow driver, but he used the wrong finger. I was confused. However, I am still thinking about it. Why is it that two days later I am still thinking about an angry driver flipping me off? It’s because there is so much being said with that finger.
Think about it. When someone shows you that finger, something rises up in you. Why would you dare to do that to me? You want to respond with something similar, but there isn’t anything as powerful (other than a punch in the face, but that is so unchristian). When someone points at us with their index finger, we have a similar reaction. Why are you pointing at me? I hated when my dad or mom or grandma or teacher, basically anybody pointed at me with their index finger. It got even worse when they turned it around and motioned for me to “come to them” with said finger. There is so much weight to those fingers individually and most of the time, it is painful weight.
There is an alternative use to these fingers that carries even more weight and causes a completely different response. When all the fingers are combined (middle and index included) waving at us, we instinctively wave back and sometimes there is a smile involved. When all the fingers are extended as a welcoming gesture or a symbol of respect, we instinctively reach out in return and shake the other. Most importantly, when all the fingers are combined reaching out to help someone else, the attitude of being ignored changes to being recognized.
You see, there is a way to use the fingers properly. Perhaps, if we choose to use the fingers in the proper ways described above more often, we would start to see less use of the gestures I, and many others, have come to loathe.
The middle finger hurts. It causes pain, maybe more for me than most people, but I don’t like feeling I made someone else angry. All the fingers together create change of heart, change of mind, and possibly a change of perspective when it comes to the needs of others. An extended hand with the intent of spreading peace and love can be the very thing a person needs to understand the healing hand of their Savior. Try it.
Question: Why is it so hard to extend a helping or welcoming hand? Do you feel society has lost the ability to accept a wave or a handshake? If so, how can the Church be a catalyst for changing it?