What We Hold – Part Two

by Melissa Taft
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by Laurie Klein

The Weights of the Balance

Dear Readers, if you’ve read Part One (thank you), you’ll know I often hold a valued object to better focus contemplative moments, an idea suggested by Christine Sine

You might call this a hand dance. I find the slow, thumb-stroking action generates inner receptivity. In our violent age I need help sometimes to calm my reactions, test my motives, and identify my emotions—especially those raised by injustice. 

I’ve taken to cradling a small stone bird. The three-inch dove, expressively etched, snugs along my arthritic joints in multiple ways. Pleasantly heavy in my hand, its mottled color resembles patinated copper. 

Usually, I trace the curves with my non-dominant hand, but either one works. The motion activates pressure points, which stimulate nerve endings to relay soothing memos to my brain. Hello, endorphins. 

In our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies, rhythm reliably soothes the raveled edge. 

Using the non-dominant hand not only exercises the brain but builds new connections between the two hemispheres. Meanwhile, my more agile hand turns Bible pages and writes in my journal. I move the stone bird with my fingers trusting that God’s Spirit, in turn, moves through me.

I hold it gently, even as I am held.

Experts claim using my weaker hand may improve my willpower and self-control. I can anticipate enhanced creativity, intuition, imagination—even the ability to feel. 

Mostly? I feel evened out, an inner balance restored.

In Old Testament times God required consistent “weights of the balance,” or avanim (Deut. 25:13-16; Leviticus 19:35-36). 

A just balance and scales belong to the LORD;

All the weights of the bag are His concern. Prov. 16:11

The avanim determined amounts, weights, and values in ancient societies. That accuracy guaranteed accountability and integrity in the exchange of goods. Made of stone, bronze, or lead, the earliest measuring weights of Babylonia and Assyria took the form of birds and other animals. 

I enfold my little stone bird and read “[A] just weight is the Lord’s delight” (Prov. 11:1). The word also says that God finds a fraudulent weight detestable.

And there’s the rub—because I reconfigure the measure of things when I’m upset. Reading sensationalized headlines and bylined exposés on politicians and issues upends my equilibrium. 

I weigh the arguments. But I am ever-tempted to judge those I dislike or fear by a different standard. 

Which claims are falsely weighted? Where are the balanced accounts I can trust? My increasing dismay wants to wail, “Justice, where are you?”

ALL the weights of the bag are His concern. 

Cradling the stone bird in my weaker hand reminds me God sees all, measures all—including yours truly. I picture the individual or nation as well as my own judgmental self in God’s hands. It’s a very small action, but if I want to address injustice in the world, this is where I must start: with myself. 

On a hot day marked by runaway feelings (or temperatures), I might dip the stone in cold water. Other days I add a dab of calming rosemary or lavender oil.

The little stone bird rests on the life line etched across my palm. I am erratic, awkward, and weak as the hand that holds it. But I want to embody a just, loving, measured response to other people. 

Speaking about difficult people and situations, Anselm, 11th-century archbishop of Canterbury, once prayed: “Measure not to them your goodness by the dullness of our devotion; but as your kindness surpasses all human affection, so let your hearing transcend our prayer.” 

In all things, Lord, keep me honest. Balanced. Prayerful. 


For so long many of us have neglected the sense of touch during worship. To override tension and simultaneously direct our intention, we could interact with textures that nudge our sensibilities toward relaxation. We might choose stress balls, rounded objects of glass, metal, or ceramic, fresh fruit, even soothing fabrics. When accompanied by prayer, they can help sustain openness and focused hope.

If you missed part one, you can find it here: What We Hold – Part One

GoWResources Did you know that alongside Christine Sine’s book The Gift of Wonder, we have many resources available to you? The free downloadable bonus packet or beautiful prayer cards featuring prayers from the book, for example – something to hold and behold! Or perhaps you’d like to journey through the book alongside a retreat – we have that too! You can check it all out in our shop!

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