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Open-Handed Life

Amy Oden

Do you want to live tight-fisted or open-handed? Close your hand into a fist. Now squeeze it closed even tighter. Count to 20. Notice the energy it takes to hold it tightly closed.

We often do this spiritually. We grip our blessings tightly and, usually unbeknownst to us, that takes a lot of energy. A closed fist requires us to maintain vigilance, rarely relaxed into trust. It’s exhausting to cling to our resources, misunderstanding them as prizes for our efforts.

What if we lived open-handed? What if we saw our resources, not as prize, but as blessing poured into our lives for the sake of others? For the sake of the world God so loves?

If we allow the resources that flow into our lives to flow through us and out into the world, we find ourselves more free. We are more available to receive God’s good gifts and more able to release them for God’s purposes in the world.

I’ve shared from time to time in the Insights blog about my journey with my husband through his dementia. He passed away peacefully last month. That journey helped me learn to stay open-handed, to receive its gifts rather than grip tightly to preserve control. Grace has abounded!

Of course, like so much of the gospel, this is upside-down thinking, counter-intuitive. We assume that we will be secure and happy only when we grip tightly to what we have. But Jesus invites us to the Way that leads to Life.

Today, let’s try living open-handed, ready to receive and ready to give. Amen.


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