Recently Carol Mathews lead our staff in prayer before our meeting. She brought a wonderful story entitled Eskimo Hands Have Holes that I wanted to share with you.
Go outside in early February in the Midwest without gloves on and quite likely it will feel as though you have Eskimo hands. But there is another way of understanding the term Eskimo hands.
Among the artists of the primitive Eskimos there was a curious and charming custom. When creating human figures, an Eskimo artist often carved large holes in the figure’s hands. The pierced hands of the hunter were intended to signify that part of the game that was caught was allowed to fall through to the rest of creation. Hunters, and all others, were to share a portion of all the gifts that came to them.
More than a reminder of the cold and ice of winter, Eskimo culture was and is known for the art of hospitality. Those who wish to understand the spirit of hospitality and to practice this ageless sacred art can find much to learn in the Eskimo tradition.
Whenever we share, we are allowing part of the good things that have come to us to be passed on to others. This sharing of bounty becomes a very natural expression when we see that all that comes to us in life is a gift. We do not earn or merit gifts; they are tokens of love. As we look around at the multitude of good things that we have been given and then look at the degree of generosity in our lives, we need to ask whether we truly have Eskimo hands.
Do we look upon our natural physical gifts, our intelligence, education, good fortune and success as person possessions? The ecological wisdom of the Indians of the far north sprang from their belief that all life is an interdependent web. Nothing or no one was seen as totally independent of others. That sense of communion was at the root of their artistic symbolism.
We are very familiar with Christian art’s image of the Risen Christ with pierced hands. At the Last Supper, Jesus gave his friends and all the rest of the sacred web of the world, not part of his gifts and talents but his whole self. Each time we graciously allow part of any gift we have been given to fall through our hands that gift to others redeems them, those we love and all the earth.
This story of Eskimo hands is a story of stewardship. We are blessed and we share our blessings. The sharing of our blessings becomes another blessing in itself.
Thanks to everyone who share your blessings with our parish.