Keep an Open Hand

My husband believes that Good n' Plenty candy is an acquired taste.  If this is true (and it likely is given that black licorice isn't universally loved), I guess that I acquired the taste during childhood when my dad would pour the candies into my hand.  I still like the simple, pretty appearance of the pink and white candy shells.

I recently bought a box, and this afternoon I poured myself a handful.  I had just returned from campus, and I was still mulling over an email I received about my teaching schedule for the upcoming fall.  I knew I needed to head out again and buy a few groceries for dinner before the kids got home from school, but then I remembered that I needed to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer.

Finally, with the clothes in the dryer, my scrawled grocery list in hand, my keys located, and my thoughts still occupied with my pending teaching schedule, I headed to my car.  That's when I realized that I still had a handful of Good n' Plenty.  My fist was clenched around them; the pink and white coating had begun to smear onto my palm and fingers.

I'm not sure why this sight made me pause, but something was triggered when I saw the results of a clenched hand.  My hand, which could have been clean if I had just kept my palm open, was a sticky mess.  Sometimes, it feels right to clutch something, like it's somehow safer to exert a strong grip, but an open hand might be what's better.

As I drove to the store, I prayed.  I told God that I trusted Him with my teaching schedule, even if it was different than normal, even if it might need to be tweaked, even if it couldn't be tweaked.  And as I prayed, I felt my clenched hand opening up a bit, my strong grip loosening.  Somehow, just like the sight of my stained pink and white palm, I knew that this situation -- like most things in life -- ultimately would be better if I didn't hold on so tightly.

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