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The amazing power of hands

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By Calen McKinney

I was watching a repeat of "Grey's Anatomy" recently, and it hit me.

I had heard many eloquent words about the power of a person's hands at a blessing of the hands ceremony recently, but this episode was like a picture of what I heard that night.

I remember sitting there in the front row, with my camera in hand, capturing the moment. I heard several speakers discuss what we do with our hands.

"Your hands have held back death. Your hands are amazing," the Rev. Fella Wilson told the nearly 40 health care workers who attended the ceremony two weeks ago.

"Your hands are a gift from God for this community," he said. "Have you ever thought what your hands have done?"

He said health care workers sometimes work long hours, don't get thanked for their services and are often not paid what they believe are fair wages.

"And I know there are nights you start to wonder if it's worth it," he said. "I know sometimes you cry ... You are very much like Christ. You give second chances.

"You did that. You do an awful lot."

This "Grey's Anatomy" episode was full of second chances, tears and hands.

It was the premiere episode of the show's fifth season. For those who watch the show, it's the two-part episode in which military surgeon Owen Hunt shows up and saves Dr. Christina Yang after an icicle fell and stabbed her in the chest.

As I watched the show, I started to think about what Wilson said that night two weeks ago.

Hunt's hands saved Yang's life. And because of that, she (at least on television) can save others' lives.

Just before Yang's icicle incident, she used her hands to press against a man's chest to keep him from bleeding to death. A few hours later (in television time), the man died, but Yang's actions undoubtedly helped him live a few hours more.

Watching this episode also reminded me a commercial for Kleenex tissues, which is kind of random, I know.

The commercial features a woman "touching" everyday objects as she goes through her day. Then she "feels" a tissue.

If we really started to think about everything our hands do, we might be amazed.

They allow us to type an e-mail to our loved one serving in Iraq. My hands are allowing me to type these words right now.

They also allowed me to type the story about Michael Yates, which appears on the front page of today's issue. Yates uses his hands to conduct brain dissections.

A paramedic's hands can tilt a child's head up to make her breathe again after nearly drowning.

A doctor's hands are the first to welcome a new baby into the world.

We can use our hands to hold another person's hands when they are scared, worried, dying or just happy.

A nurse's hands can comfort us, with a simple pat on the shoulder or a fluff of our pillow during a stay at a hospital.

Simply put, our hands can make a person feel better. Hands, as Wilson said, are amazing.

But as he said that night, they can't do everything.

"Nobody's that good," he said. "Your hands had to have been led by a higher power than your own."

I truly believe that.

So to those in the health care field who use their hands to protect, heal and comfort us, thank you.