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The story of the two hands


Marjo Dohmen

‘t-Was night.
A night like many others and yet a different night.
And on the square, next to the house, were the acacia trees.
Still, as if they wanted to prevent loosing the stars that were hanging from the branches.
And far away wasn’t very far, in the heaven that wasn’t a sky, the moon still hung.
And everything was calm.
And in the house next to the square, in the room next to the trees, the woman sat in silence.
In her silence that was also the silence of so many others.
And she held up her head, her body straight and still, her hands folded in her lap.
And her head was in silence, her hands were in silence.
But there was no silence in her.
And everything was chaos.
And in her silence, that was also the silence of so many others, her hands started to lead their own life, as if they weren’t part of her body anymore.

And the right hand rose up, stretched itself and looked about in a self-satisfied way.
And the left hand moved a little and then laid there, crouched.
And the right hand saw the left, frowned, tapped the other on the shoulder and said: ‘Hey you, who are you and why are you laying there in that manner? I’m Right hand and I’m satisfied and everyone can see that; And who are you?’
And the left hand, as if he came from far away, lifted his head and said staring in the nothing: ‘Hello, excuse me. I’m Left hand and I’m sad.’
‘What do you mean sad’, said Right hand, ‘who is still sad these days? Don’t you know you can determine whether you’re sad or not? Don’t you know that grieving is starting in your head?
That you can determine what you feel by your thoughts.
Don’t ya know that then?’
‘No’ said Left hand, ‘I don’t know that.
I know nothing, I just feel.
And I feel sad and hurt.’
‘Pain! Even pain.’ said Right hand.
‘Sure, look at you laying there.
One big Slough of Despond.
What luck that I don’t feel and just think!
You should do more thinking, Left hand.’
‘O’ said Left hand ‘You know so much. But tell me, when I can’t feel the sorrow and pain anymore, how can I experience happiness then, what happens to my happiness then?’
‘You and your happiness’ said Right hand, and shrugged..
‘Live like me, free of sorrow, satisfied! Nothing disturbs my balance when I don’t want that to happen. But you, you are reeling in a lot of misery, incredible!’
‘Yes,’ said Left hand, ‘but when you only think and don’t feel anything, how can you experience what love is?’
‘That’s what I was afraid of’ said Right hand, ‘that you would bring that up.
That harping about love.
What does it bring you?
Just pain and sorrow, by the looks of you. I’ll tell you what love is. Love is fear, chaos, uncertainty. You want to possess, always be together, you are afraid to loose it and so on and I don’t want all that!’
‘No’, said Left hand, ‘ what you call love is not love, that is self-love. Love is holding somebody dear and being able to let him go.
And even, when it is necessary, say goodbye to him and never see him again.
Because his happiness is worth more to you than your own happiness.
Love is hugging with your thoughts, enclose with your eyes and knowing that you are connected, even if you are far away from each other.
And warmth, lots of warmth, that I what love is.’
‘Sure pumpkin, I don’t buy into talk like that’, said Right hand.
‘No way, that will not ever happen to me.
That is how far my thinking will let love come.
I don’t feel like falling apart.’
‘Yes, but’ said Left hand, ‘when you don’t know love, how can you live?’
‘I live well enough you know’ said Right hand.
‘Look, look at me and see how I live, you see me?’
‘No’ said Left hand, ‘You don’t live, you live through, you survive.’
‘Well, well, isn’t he getting philosophical with me.’ said Right hand.
‘I’m surviving, okay, but you, you are being broken by life!’
‘No’ said Left hand, ‘That’s not what it’s like.
I live because I feel and I feel because I live.
And even though the sorrow is tearing me apart and the pain is sucking the energy out of my body, I still choose to feel.
Because I can’t live without happiness and warmth.
And even though I fall apart in a thousand pieces because of loneliness, then I wait until life will glue me together again.
And when life isn’t gluing me yet, I know that it’s necessary to be pieces a while longer.
Because, if there were no pieces, there wouldn’t be unity.
Because, if the grieving didn’t exist, happiness couldn’t exist either.
And when the feeling of loneliness and the pain weren’t there, there would be no warmth, no love.
And when the love wasn’t there, life would not exist.
Because life is love and love is life.
And life is everything: joy, happiness, pain, sadness, bitterness, compassion, good, evil, gentleness, despair and trust.
Life is everything.
As love is everything.’
And Left hand was silent.
And Right hand watched amazed how that small unsure Left hand rose up by himself, folded open and surrendered himself effortless to everything that was.
And he got a feeling of respect and he said:
‘Listen Left hand; you are not so stupid after all.
Maybe we can learn something from each other.
Come on, let us put our hands together and make something out of life.’
And he raised his hand intending to slap it in Left hand with full force.
But when he saw how Left hand laid open full of trust for receiving the other, he became very quiet and understood.
And he bowed his head, brought his hand to his lap, opened it and waited. And Left hand did not slap, but smiled and laid his open hand in the other’s hand.
And so the right and the left hand form an open saucer to be able to receive what life is offering.

‘t-Was night.
A night like many others and yet a different night.
And she kept her head up, her body
straight and still, her hands folded in her lap.
And everything was silence.
And everything, everything was peace.