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Handprint on My Heart

When our kids were young, I loved when they would bring home individual art projects from school each week or at the end of each year, celebrating the successful completion of an assignment. We received pink and red cutout hearts, small painted pumpkins, papier-mâché figurines, string art portraits, and paper plate Christmas tree ornaments displaying our child’s school photo exactly in the middle. It was glorious when my collection started growing with each child’s passing school year.

However, my favorite collection of these masterpieces that graced our home included any items that had some sort of impression taken from their hands and feet. Because I treasured those items unique to them alone, you can imagine how any specific treasure I have of Robert’s is like gold to me now — especially his handprint — his tiny handprint with its God-placed lines and dashes.

One day when Robert was young, I remember a physician on medical rounds with his residents turning Robert’s hand over during the routine exam and mumbling something about his possible genetic disorder and how the lines on his palm supported some type of characteristic found in “these kids.” The doctor was in no way rude or disrespectful as he educated those younger physicians, but it struck me that he would take the time to gently reposition Robert’s hand to teach those in white coats around him.

“You bet his hands reveal something unique,” I wanted to shout. “He’s Robert!”

I smiled and didn’t say a word as they examined Robert further, but that moment of seeing all those eyes looking so intently at my son’s hand made a lasting impression on me. His handprint was like no other, and it possibly told a story of his life.

Handprints. Are they truly exclusive to each person? Yes! No one else in the world has the exact lines and ridges that you have on your hands. Even twins have different, distinctive fingerprints. And you have these one-of-a-kind fingerprints on your hands from the time you are born until you pass away. They leave lasting impressions, actual imprints which help identify you.

The lasting impressions I saw on Robert’s hand through that physician’s examination and conclusion about his diagnosis indeed left a different kind of impression on me — an impression that what was discussed in that hospital room was not a positive thing.

So, I tried my best to ignore that day and that round of doctors. And I was doing just fine until I came across this photo of Robert’s handprint tucked away safely in my treasure trove of his school art projects. Those special ones. The ones that showed his photo or his uniqueness. The ones that reminded me that no one else was like him even all the way down to his little hands.

Medical science estimates that handprints are formed in the womb at around 10 weeks of pregnancy and never lose their unique pattern during an individual’s lifetime. Robert’s handprint, or “barcode” as some call it, was set only two weeks after I found out I was having twins. What a thought!

Do you have keepsakes from your children’s school days? Or are you the teacher who smiled as you lovingly placed those treasures in our children’s backpacks? My advice for you is that you save them or at least take photos of them. Why? You cannot predict when viewing them may bring you great joy.

I treasure Robert’s handprint captured in this plaster and his truly permanent handprint on my heart.

Listening Library: Missing Peace (JJ Heller)

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (Psalm 143:8 NIV)

Missing Peace

I know it’s here somewhere

The faith I used to have

Before the sky fell down on me

Behind the curtain

Beneath the hospital bed

Hiding just beyond my reach

Feels like my prayers are

Bouncing off the ceiling tiles

Like a helium balloon

I can’t close the distance

Between the way I feel

And what I know is true

I’m caught up in a battle I wasn’t looking for

When searching for solace in the middle of a war

You are, You are, You are my missing peace

You are, You are, You are my missing peace

My missing peace

I’m tired of waiting

But I’m afraid of how it’s gonna end

So I’m stuck here in between

Bracing for bad news

And hoping for a miracle

While I’m fighting to believe

I’m caught up in a battle I wasn’t looking for

When searching for solace in the middle of a war


You silence my worry when fear is deafening

I think I want answers, but what I really need is peace

My missing peace


Songwriters: Andy Gullahorn, David Heller, Jennifer Heller

Missing Peace lyrics © The Gullahorns Music

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