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Silent Language of Hands

Posted on February 6, 2013


Behold the hands
how they promise, conjure, appeal, menace, pray, supplicate, 

refuse, beckon, interrogate, admire, confess, cringe, instruct, command, 
mock and what not besides, with a variation and multiplication of
variation which makes the tongue envious.
- Michel de Montaigne

Sharbat Gula, Nasir Bagh Refugee Camp, Peshawar, Pakistan


Our hands often reveal what we really think but do not say.
They can show a range of feelings and emotions from confusion and frustration
to joy, understanding, love, and compassion. 


Among all species, our human hands are unique — not only in what they can accomplish,
but also in how they communicate. Human hands can paint the Sistine Chapel, pluck a guitar,
maneuver surgical instruments, chisel a David, forge steel, and write poetry.
They can grasp, scratch, poke, punch, feel, sense, evaluate, hold and mold the world around us.
- Joe Navarro

Florida, United States

New York City, United States

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us,
we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions,or cures,
 have chosen rather to share our pain
 and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
- Henri Nouwen


Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we 
have received and
let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.
- Mother Teresa


Hands calm us, feed us, and scratch our backs.
They intimidate, bless, encourage, and stop us.  They soothe and caress.
They draw our attention to the good and the bad, often suggesting exuberance or fear.
- Charles Flowers introduction to Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook




Hands have saved lives and taken them just as easily.
They create the saviors of life as well as the purveyors of death.
Creating and destroying with a single move
a finger can move mountains or search the unknown heavens.
Hands live to caress and love.
Hands live to fight and die.
Forever living hands, forever exploring hands.
- Bruce Alan Humphrey


To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and give.
- Taisen Deshimaru


Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as
beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.
- Rumi ( 1207 – 1273)



Hold a true friend with both hands
- African Proverb


To pray means to open your hands before God.
- Henri Nouwen

United States

Kunar Province, Afghanistan


The hands which beckon,
embrace, soothe, and comfort us
Bid us farewell.


…For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.
Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene 5
-William Shakespeare