My family aren’t always the most touchy-feely people in the world. It’s not that we don’t love each other, but in a house of four boys, you’re more likely to catch us punching than hugging.
I’m pretty sure there were times we punched the dog instead of petting it. Just got carried away, that’s all.
Whenever we get together, it’s a blast. Jokes are abounding. Stories being told. Laughter, etc. Then we gather for the meal, and naturally we want to start with a prayer beforehand. So we gather in a circle, appoint somebody to pray, and bow our heads.
Then it happens. We all pause, looking around at each other sheepishly, knowing that the hand holding is about to begin.
It doesn’t take long before somebody (typically Momma Craven) reaches out and touches somebody, but it feels like an eternity. It’s not necessarily painful to have to do, but we have to get into our proper mindset to deal with it.
The mental preparation is important. Depending on who you’re next to, it could be strange. You’re next to Mom? No problem at all. You’ll feel a little bit like a child being led through the store, sure, but it could be worse. After all, you could be next to your older brother, who you certainly don’t want to have to touch. Ever.
Without fail, I always end up standing right next to Ol’ Steve. Not sure how it happens, but I just always have to hold his hand. Neither of us look forward to it, and we are aware of that fact. So we just glare, sigh, then begrudgingly grab the others hand in a grip that isn’t loose enough to seem unmanly, but not tight enough to cue palm sweat.
It’s a delicate process.
The basic problem that we have is this: holding hands with a dude, be it family or not, is nothing like holding hands with a woman. Naturally, there’s no interdigitation. You don’t ever want to do that, because it feels strange, but also because if you happen to fall over, you’re both losing some fingers in the process.
But even beyond that, women are given nice, soft hands. Dudes just don’t have it. Even people that spend all of their time avoiding manual labor still have to naturally have some rough, unappealing hands.
Simply put, if a dude happens to have really, really nice hands, he’s probably not a dude.
And if anyone is curious, yes, I did just say “rough, unappealing hands”.
After the prayer has ended, but right before we’re free to leave the awkwardness of familial palm touching, something strange happens. And it happens every time.
Somebody decides to try and start an arm wave. Every. Single. Time.
And of course, it’s funny to us. But not so funny that we want to actually see how long it will last. Particularly because by the time it reaches Ol’ Steve, he’s already on his second plate of food.
It always happens like this. We feel really awkward, then have what could be a great moment ruined by bad dance moves.
Yet we continue trying to hold hands when we pray together. Because when the family gets together, this is what happens.
What are your family prayer times like?