When I taught piano lessons in my home, a student would invariably ask me — “Mrs. Juliani, why do you have so MANY hands and hearts in your house??? I counted 18 different ones hanging on the walls!” Laughing, I responded, “… because it reminds me of the way I hope to live each day — and I need LOTS of reminders!!” This symbol has ALWAYS intrigued me - a simple design stirring a much deeper reality… “Hands to work — Hearts to God” This wonderful work ethic was written by the same “Believers” who authored the well-loved hymn SIMPLE GIFTS:
HANDS TO WORK - - - - - HEARTS TO GOD
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free, ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be... And when we find ourselves in the place just right ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight! When true simplicity is gained,
to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed
To turn, turn will be our delight, ‘Til by turning, turning, we come round right.
I have always loved these words ... don’t we all yearn to find ourselves in the place “just right?”
They come to us from the Shakers ... a religious sect with only a couple of Believers still alive today in the last Shaker settlement in Sabbathday Lake, Maine. Although the thriving communities of the 1800’s are a thing of the past, their legacy lingers in their vision of life’s meaning: GOD is LOVE ... and it is the calling of every person to show forth that love in the world in every way possible!!
The song, SIMPLE GIFTS, written by Elder Joseph Brackett in 1848 has become one of the most celebrated songs EVER! It was composed as a Shaker dancing song, so “turning” actually refers to dance instructions — as well as being symbolic of turning our lives in the right direction — toward God … Fulfillment in life is not attained through power and wealth, but through the gift of humility and simplicity — leading us into the “just right” place of joy and love and delight! Here is a link to listen to the music — which is a delight in itself .... ENJOY!!