1. A device or implement, especially one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function
1.1 A thing used in an occupation or pursuit
1.2 A person used or exploited by another
I do not master the tool. It is the tool that masters me.
The tool doesn’t change as my skill builds.
–the pen doesn’t suddenly pull my hand across the page [when once it dragged]
–the saw doesn’t impulsively guide itself through the grain [when once it cut askew]
– the words don’t magically express concepts on command [when once their meaning was muddy]
– the thread doesn’t weave a weft unprovoked on the loom [when once it tangled]
– the wand doesn’t cast spontaneous spells after knowing my hand [when once it was mute wood]
– the body doesn’t wake suddenly (impulsively, magically, unprovoked, spontaneous) as fluent / flexible / sensuous / soft / bold / adventurous / useful [when once it was stone]
This has been suggested:
The tools shape our hands. Tools we’ve designed turn around and re-design us. In this pattern we search for some hint of a larger story. We want the things we want. We grow hard and brittle in our desire. But it is in our softness, in our very malleability, that we become useful. It is in the torn ache of loss and change that we become supple.
One Point One
There is much I will never know or learn or grasp. All that I have held, but no longer hold, has left its honor on my small hands. The skills I rarely practiced; faded. The songs I rarely played; distant. The words I neglected to write; forgotten. The kisses I kept; lost.
But I want to be soft and vulnerable and expressive. I want to be useful. I want to be redesigned by these tools I carry. This is my occupation, this is my pursuit.
One Point Two
There are things we consciously become. There are things we stumble into by accident. There are things we feign blindness too, things we pretend not to know. Things we try on for size, versions of ourselves that we discard when they no longer suit us.
Childhood nightmares of steel-wool communion wafers and hammers walking upright in human form come back. The tire iron. The electrical cord noose. The syringe. The ghost of a finger lost to a round blade. The keys clenched between fingers, an armored fist. The door. The vice my cousins and I would tighten around our hands, each child in turn, trying to see who could tolerate the most pain. The evidence rooms & museums & Vatican vaults filled with implements of torture.
There are tools that become symbols of the violence we do against each other and against ourselves. Harm, exploitation, violence – hard – inflexible – brittle. Wound after wound after wound.
Lord, give me a use. I offer you my hands. This is all that I have & all that I am.