Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Friendly Hand

Magnet # 162: Moroccan Hamsa

Material:  Wood, Laminated Paper

Purchased By:  Mom & Dad

Today is Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day - that's right, not just one, as from time to time, I imagine many of us are tempted.  It's a day when we're reminded to be friendly to those around us, and give them the respect of a fully-committed five finger wave, not just a nod of the head or half-interested smile.  Show off your pearly whites, lift your hand high, and give your neighbors a real welcome.  Neighbors play a truly important role in our lives.  Having the right ones can build life-long friendships that form bonds as tight as those of any family members and give us a true sense of security in our neighborhoods.  And on the other side, a bad relationship with our neighbors can be an enduring source of stress that in a few extreme cases can even escalate into confrontations worthy of the six o'clock news.  I certainly hope none of you have any neighbors like that in your life.  But if you have some you haven't met, or would like to bury the hatchet with others, this is a great opportunity.  And it's also a perfect day to remember the good neighbors that have so enriched our lives and help put them in a happy mood.

I thought this magnet of the hamsa would be pretty appropriate to post today.  It's an ancient symbol believed to drive away evil thoughts, deeds, and words and it's thought to date back all the way to the Phoenicians.  We may not see much of it in the United States, but it's very popular in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where it can be seen all over towns and in homes.  Recent interest in the Kabbalah has brought this symbol more attention in popular culture, along with other religious items such as the Red Kabbalah String Bracelet, and now more people are wearing the hamsa as jewelry.  There are nearly countless variations to this symbol - for example, the shape of the hand can vary and sometimes there is no delineation between the fingers.  But I think, as applied to Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day, it not only gives us an image of a full hand that's appropriate to wave at our neighbors, it also reminds us that our neighbors don't necessarily live next door to us.  We are all neighbors in this world, and perhaps today might be a nice day for doing something to help our neighbors in need all around planet Earth.  Donating to the cause in Haiti comes to mind, but there are so many charitable needs out there, the choices really are endless.  And, hey, don't forget that Disney is giving a free day's admission to their park in 2010 for donating a day of your time to a charitable organization - for more info, check out their official website.  Not only can you help your neighbors, you can also have a day of fun in return.  Sounds good to me!

Of course, the Super Bowl also airs tonight.  Honestly, if the Cowboys aren't in it, I don't tend to care (yeah, I haven't cared in a very long while).  I guess there's not a huge chance of Colts and Saints fans being very neighborly toward one another, but I hope they'll manage.  And for everyone going out to celebrate, please be warned:  Super Bowl Sunday is one of the worst days in the year on the roadways.  There are so many drunken drivers out there that some studies even put it before New Year's Eve.  So please drink responsibly and drive carefully if you are going out and remember - there's no shame in taking a taxi.  I'm hoping all of my neighbors can join me back on here tomorrow, and I wish everyone a pleasant day.

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