‘With the highs and lows of life, we may need to ask for a helping hand...there is no shame in that.’
Our very own Campus Director Dr Sara Saigol recently featured in BBC Radio 2’s ‘Pause for Thought.’
She reflected on the symbolism of hands.
‘I’ve been thinking of my hands, I’ve been looking down at my hands and I’ve seen that they have definitely aged. The veins are standing out and the elasticity has worn away and I look at them - they felt so familiar but now they look like a stranger’s. I’d like to blame all that washing up and all that copious alcohol rub at work, but I’m afraid it’s that old friend time that has to take full responsibility.
It got me thinking about hands. My mother’s, as she kneads the dough for our favourite evening chapati. Or, when she’s nimbly pleating her beautiful sarees to work. It’s not easy, it’s quite a craft, and one that my own hands just cannot master. My dad’s, when he used to steady my bike as I learnt to ride without stabilisers, running alongside me; and believe me, my dad never normally ran. And my brother’s fingers that held his squash racket so deftly, and they were tightened by a crippling neurological disorder, and I would massage them gently.
As a GP, I examine hands and nails and they can be fascinating windows to our health. Although I prescribe medications, it’s often in my hands to offer a bit of time to patients to talk. In an ideal world, I’d have a lot more of that. As a person of faith, I lift my empty, needy hands in prayer to God, who I believe has limitless mercy and bounty. Our everyday language holds many references to hands – can you lend me a hand? A helping hand. Handouts. Hand holding. Handovers at work – I didn’t those at all at the end of a tiring 12-hour hospital night shift! And with the highs and lows of life we may need to ask for a helping hand, or a little bit of assistance just to get us through those tricky times. And there’s no shame in that. Or we may be the fortunate ones who get to lend someone else that helping hand. The Qur’an mentions this when God says, ‘What is wrong with them, that they do not help one another?’ Also, ‘And to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans and the needy.’
Our hands have the capacity to bring about connection, love, goodness, charity, and reconciliation, should we wish to. That’s incredibly powerful; transformative.
But for now, maybe I should lay my hands on some of that anti-wrinkle hand cream!’