Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Idle Hands!

Idealists give invaluable service,
they give the distant view,
which makes progress,
as it makes a walk, exhilarating.
                Samuel Augustus Barnett


Last week I sat with my Mom watching her play with a novelty toy that was basically a series of metal pins in a box. With practise you could make any form of art you wished. By just laying it on anything, in this case her hand, and then carefully tipping it back it would leave its imprint. It is called a Pin Toy or Pin Art. 

I watched her play with it for about 15 minutes trying to get the shape of her hand perfect. I pointed out that it looked beautiful but she continued to keep trying to attain her self-imposed ideal of perfection. Mom’s hands are beautiful but after years of hard work they now lack strength, and appear gnarly and frail. Her determination to get this image to look perfect, with her now less than perfect hands had me mesmerized. Finally satisfied with the result, she set it down. Four fingers, a thumb and a wonky shaped palm of hand. She had a big smile on her face. I congratulated her on her success. She slid it to the side of the table where it still sits, a true testament to her strength and determination.

This type of determination is nothing new for me to have witnessed. I come from a long line of hard working, determined and striving for perfection, even if unattainable, dreamers. Generations and generations of people who have always done what was expected of them, leaving not too many ‘idle hands’ in the bunch.


As a child I was taught the value of hard work and pushed myself to do the best I could at every job I was given or had taken on, striving to reach a goal or a dream. ‘Idle hands’ were not allowed and I was OK with that. My being the eldest of a large family gifted me self-imposed responsibilities that have lasted a lifetime, possibly trying to prove myself and “set a lead” as my father used to sometimes call it. My father being the eldest in his family had warned me about that, he called it a curse. Eventually, in his later years he grew weary and lost that drive to conquer that self- imposed perfection and in his thinking unattainable ideal of success.

I now find that I grow weary of my own responsibilities, finding myself craving those ‘idle hands’ that I had always believed to be so very harmful and non-productive. My own hands, now fighting me every step of the way are beginning to look very much like my mother’s. Now, they also appear gnarled, frail and do indeed lack the strength needed to easily continue on my own self-imposed ideal path.


Farming has always kept me busy and away from all of those ‘idle hands’ pitfalls that I have been taught to avoid at all costs through my life. There was never any time for ‘idle hands’. This farming thing has always had me pushing myself to fulfill those ideal dreams and secretly hoping that someday, something would come from all that hard work. As I grow older I find myself hoping that my time of rest was lying just ahead. Farming is a rewarding life, no doubt about that; but one that unless you live, or have lived it, you may never understand the true realities of the emotional and physical strength that it requires, demands.

There does not appear to be any ‘idle hands’ in my near future, at least as far ahead as I am able to see. This is very apparent, particularly at this time of year. I, like my Mom, will probably be striving to achieve my idea of perfection, making use of those strengths and abilities that I continue to hold tight.


‘Idle hands’, at this point in my life, honestly does not sound as bad as I have always been led to believe.

Could there be an ‘Idle hands’ time limit that I did not know about? Have I reached the end of that contract?

Later


47 comments:

  1. Like you, I do not foresee "idle hands" either...:)JP

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  2. happily, I embrace the "idle hands" mentality. I do not agree with that old admonition... about idle hands being the devil's workshop or whatever that saying was.

    where would creativity, art, music, writing, etc., come from, if all people were always working, working, working?

    of course, I understand the point you are making. certain work is necessary. different kinds, in different life styles. no one gets away with _no_ work. it's just that I don't adhere to the idea, that hard work is _always_ better, than its opposite.

    Tessa

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  3. btw, on my computer, your blog is so wide, that I can not see the whole line of writing, without scrolling right and left, right and left.

    yes, I know that I can make your blog appear "smaller," by my control/ minus keys. but when I make your blog show up less wide, it also shows up, with small print. so I can't win.

    perhaps you could ask your readers, if they have this problem too. and if more than just I do... you could look into 'settings,' to make your blog less wide.... and make your print, show up larger???

    just saying, because I know, we can not know how our blog looks, on the screens of others.

    Tessa

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    1. Hi Tessa I adjusted the widths...does that work for you? Thank you for the tip.

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    2. I would like the print bigger too. Not only do our hands grow frail but our eyes too.

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    3. Diane is this font better? Any other suggestions from anyone would be appreciated.:)

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  4. How wonderful that your mother enjoyed playing with the Pin Art. Perfection is not a totally bad thing to strive for, in my opinion, but we do need to know that less than perfection can often be good enough. :)

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  5. I don't expect you would be happy being too idle! I admire you for your work ethic. I've never lived on a true farm, and probably would wuss out if I had to go out and feed cows in 20 below weather! LOL Have a wonderful day!!

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  6. I LOVE this post! Encouraging and truthful!

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  7. Your words and thoughts are that of an oldest child, Miss B. I have a very similar train of thought. I too have the self-imposed ideal of perfection I want to achieve in everything I do. I agree with your Dad, trying to meet unrealistically high expectations can be like a curse. I find that my creative projects help me see the beauty in imperfection and letting the little things go.

    Hope your Mom is doing well and you too.

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  8. lol...I know what you mean. I thought when I retired that I could have 'idle hands' but the hubs is a high maintenance kind of a guy so, no luck there.

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  9. I, for one, hope there is a termination to the idle hands contract at some point in the future ;-)

    My boys love those pin toys. There's a full pin table at the science museum that they love too.

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  10. I believe we all reach a certain stage in our life where we begin to slow down, either by choice or circumstances. :)

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  11. What an interesting post ! Thought-provoking.

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  12. i have one of those pin art things, too. how sweet that your mother enjoyed working it until she got it just right. :)

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  13. I think busy brains can take the place of busy hands, but even that can be a curse.

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  14. your mam's hands are just like my Nana's were. Paper thin skin and all gnarled. Mine are getting that way also. I have slowed down considerably these last few years. Good post.

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  15. I am an oldest too, with a strong work ethic and always much responsibility. I like that about me.
    But...I have learned it is all about balance: Work Hard, Play Harder. And maybe someday I will have hands that tell a story as beautiful as your mothers.

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  16. I am the older as well. Never found much time to have "idle hands." I'm sure your hands will eventually tell a special story, too. xo

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  17. I think I've seen those before, would like to have a go with one, I bet they are fun.
    Lynne x

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  18. Idle hands? You? I can't imagine that! :) We have one of those toys too...so fun! I hope spring is finding you!

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  19. This is a beautiful post, Grace and I think it is something that we all face as we age. I have found that there are definitely things I can do as well as I used to , but I ma trying to find new endeavors to keep life interesting. Kudos to your mom for not giving up. xo Laura

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  20. I was definitely brought up to believe that idle hands were a sin. My recalcitrant body means that these days I am often a sinner - and feel guilty. Very guilty.

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  21. This touched my heart. Those lovely old hands, once strong, are in my future as well. I hope I am as deserving of them as my own mother...

    Pearl

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  22. Hands that are never idle turn into works of art - just like your mother's.

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  23. Grace, you have shared much about life, and you definitely lead a full life. You nurture your life through all aspects of farming, family, blogging, writing and photography and I'm sure much more. I don't see much idling in your life... and believe me that's a good thing.

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  24. A very thought provoking post. I am hoping my hands don't become idle for a long time.

    HUGS~

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  25. Beautiful post, Grace. I have slowed down and I sometimes think of myself as being a bit lazy. But I think it's more because I'm getting older and just don't have that ambition or energy I once had. Your mother's dear aging hands are a testament to a long life that was never idle.

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  26. I wonder where the teaching, that idle hands was a sin because I heard that too when I was younger but not from my mom. It might have been from a sermon I heard. I like you, must keep busy and do what it takes to get the job done and I always strive to do my very best. The price I pay is never finding the time to be still to listen what God is saying to me, instead of listening to the preacher.

    My hands are starting to get gnarled too from daily hard work.
    I love that pin art thingie.

    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. I meant I wonder where the teaching that idle hands were a sin, came from... I need to slow down... see what I mean!
      JB

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  27. I hope to always be busy as I grow older, but in the best of ways. With a good balance of creativity and rest thrown into the mix. Nice to see your mom's handprint :)

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  28. Farming is a way of life. who else checks the cows at night. Who else bales hay for 12 hours. Farming doesn't leave time for idle hands. You're the right type for a good farmer.

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  29. I don't like my hands to be idle either. There's always something to do.
    I remember that pin art thing! They are fun to play with!
    Cheri

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  30. I doubt a farmer will ever have idle hands. One day when you are old and retired you can sit in your rocker and clasp your idle hands. It sounds good doesn't it but you will never be like that. You spend some lovely times with your mother. It is a nice post for International Women's Day.

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  31. A wonderful segue into an interesting topic. Loved this post. I am not sure but I think there could be a time limit on idle hands? Maybe not though - I hope I will be able to use knitting needles for a long time to come to keep these hands busy!

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  32. idle hands and an empty nest are not as bad as everyone says!!! my hands are busy with "other" things.....my nest, is filled with love!!! things change, but life is always wonderful!!!!

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  33. So much in this post that made me think, made me nostalgic, and makes me always love you, my friend!

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  34. As long as you keep those hands on a keyboard and keep on writing, I know I will be happy. I'm another first-born, and while I have always strived for perfection, I have also learned to let go and be idle. And my hands were usually used for things like adding machines, typewriters, and then computer keyboards. They escaped hard work until I moved up here and now they love it.

    Dear Button, thank you so much for your support, for your caring, for your comments. Thank you for being my friend.

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  35. I understand what you mean but there are times my hands have to be idle as they ache I have to rest them lol ! I grew up on a farm and to this day still put my hands when I can through the ringer lol My mum had hard large looking hands from farming and having them always knitting , crochet, sewing, cooking and baking , Lovely post and photos . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

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  36. I was always told "Idle hands are the work of the devil." I completely understand where you are coming from, I am weary also Idle hands oh well...:)

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  37. Your reflections on life are always a joy to read. I can just see you sitting beside your mother as she continues to strive for perfection with her hands. Such a lovely post, as always.

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  38. I don't like having idle hands either. Beautiful post!

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  39. That is so lovely Buttons and I do remember one of those 'toys' from somewhere in the distant past.
    These days the only part of me that is not idle is my hands. My body has let me down so badly that most of the time I sit and use my hands...either here at the keyboard of my computer, or perhaps preparing meals or doing dishes and then, sitting again, I crochet as much as I can to make rugs for charity. My hands are out of shape and very painful at times but they still work for me, with rests in between doing things.
    Our family always had strong work ethics but unfortunately in his early 60s my dad suddenly just didn't want to, or couldn't, work any more. Mum however went on and on even after her disastrous accident which nearly took her life.
    I am glad my two children have strong work ethics as well as their partners so no really very idle hands among them.
    You, Buttons, will keep using your hands as long as you can, not because you have to but because you want to 'cos that's what hands are for. Hugs

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  40. "I have my mother's hands" I said to my husband. What an honour he replied.
    I love your mom's "pinprint" B.

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  41. I'm sure you are always doing something with your hands...Hugs M xoxox

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  42. I haven't seen that kind of "pin print" before, B. Your photos help tell the story as much as your words.
    I can't imagine that your hands are idle very often, but you do need to take some time for yourself. Maybe use your beautiful hands that work so hard to sit and hold a book to read. You deserve that.

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  43. I wish it were only my hands that refused to be idle...apparently my legs do too, which sometimes makes working with my hands difficult! *lol*
    I have never been very good at sitting...always in trouble at school for wandering and now, 3 years into retirement, I still wander...and now, so does my mind! ... but now my hands are not always able to work :) That work ethic thing can be a bit of a blessing and a curse...you are blessed that your hands can still be 'not idle'... :)

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

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