Those of us that are old enough can remember the old Fairy Liquid adverts that include the question, "Mummy, why are your hands so soft?" In this day of political correctness, they don't show them anymore just in case gender roles are stereotyped and Daddy doesn't help with the housework!
My hands are soft right now. For my birthday, Joe bought me a tub of hand cream from Lush. The product is called "Smitten" and contains almond oil. It is a very rich cream. The tub sits on the coffee table in the front room and I suppose that because it is not tucked away on a bathroom shelf it is getting used. I sit down after I have done the washing up, or finished doing something on the cleaning front, and the tub is right there. Sitting down to watch TV, the tub is right there, accessible. Using the stuff often during the day, has gradually built up a softness in my hands that wasn't there before.
This morning as I was rubbing in the usual blob of cream, the Holy Spirit brought to mind something that had been mentioned in church months ago. Shields in Roman times were made of leather and were protected by oil being rubbed into them. Without the oil, the leather dried out and cracks appeared. The protection the shield offered was no longer reliable.
As I was rubbing my hands together, I just imagined the Holy Spirit massaging my inner self. I imagined the Spirit rubbing in His joy, His peace, His kindness - those essential fruits of the Spirit into the very heart of me. I wanted it not to be just a surface wipe over, but a deep kneading - to get below the surface.
My hands are soft because I often dip into my tub of hand cream. A single application does not last forever! I don't think a once only application of the ministrations of the Holy Spirit will do that much lasting good either. His work needs to be repeated over and over again. I have got into a habit of rubbing the cream into my hands - how much more would the Holy Spirit like to get into a habit of rubbing in his oil of joy to prevent my heart drying out and cracks appearing?
Currently I am wading through writing third year reports, with first year reports waiting in the wings. It is a busy time of the school year. I want to make sure that I don't neglect time spent with God. Now is not the time for cracking up!