By Chanel Earl
When I say I have graven thee on the palms of my hands, I’m not sure you are hearing me. I’m not sure you are really taking this literally enough.
I know that you know that I have these scars on my palms, my wrists, my feet, and the big-ole side scar that—I know you don’t know this part, so I’m going to tell you—is shaped kind of like Italy, only backwards. I may be a resurrected and perfected being of glory, but the scars stay. I cherish them. They are so peculiar.
Sometimes when I see the scar on the inside of my right wrist, it startles me because it looks like a bug crawling under my skin. It sort of looks like a little caterpillar with ridges and a round head. If I move my wrist just right, it looks like it is moving too. A patient inch-worm expanding and contracting with each flick.
The scar on the top of my left wrist is so flat I would probably not even notice it, except that I really like to wear my watch on that hand. When my watch ticks I can feel it in the scar. The soft tap tap tap of time, which—I know, I know—God doesn’t measure, but I like time. When I was in my mortal tabernacle it made a real impression on me. It’s so useful, and I like watching it progress. Hence the watch, and the scar under it, which feels so alive as it ticks sympathetically.
I know you have heard that one about me walking barefoot on the beach, and I assure you, the part of the story is true—when I walk on the beach, I love to go barefoot. And I look at my footprints in the sand, and there is a tiny star in the center of each footprint, which doesn’t surprise me because I can feel the scars with every step, like I have a little piece of gum stuck to the bottom of each foot.
And you, I have graven you in the palms of my hands, you know. When I look at my palms they remind me of you. There you are bisecting my lifelines, my heartlines, my headlines. From my own hands—my palms—your face looks up at me. On the left your nose is more bulbous than usual, and on the right the back of your head much flatter. When you see my scars someday I want you to know that I know that your head has a nice round shape, not like the shape of the scar. But flat or round, your eyes are there, two clear eyes looking up at me. Your mouth always open, as if forming a question.
You see why I cherish these scars? Why I can’t bring myself to let go of them, although I could? They connect me to you. They remind me that I have a people, that I have a family. And when it seems like so many of my people have forgotten or even rejected me, all I have to do is wiggle my fingers and I see you laughing, see you smiling. I see you nodding in acceptance, reminding me that you are still there, never to be removed.