I have a “Keeper Box”, maybe you have one too. I actually have more than one and every now and then I look through my keeper boxes. It’s for special things…you know…like special pictures, funny notes, childish drawings, a macaroni necklace, and plaster of paris hand prints. I looked especially at those plaster of paris hand prints because every hand print is different and they remind me that we are all, “fearfully and wonderfully made”*
I did a little research on the history of hand prints and found that hand prints were used long ago for identification purposes even though they didn’t know, at that time, how important the prints were to become. It is said that British scientist Sir Francis Galton discovered the uniqueness of fingerprints, but there were others that knew of this too. In the 1800s, William Herschel, a British magistrate in India, had native Indians make a “hand-print signature” on contracts he made with them. His intention was to prevent them from denying that they had signed the contract. I guess instead of “if the shoe fits, wear it” it was, “if the hand print matches, you signed it”. After some time, the magistrate had several contracts with hand-print signatures and that was when he began to notice the differences. Each hand print was indeed unique.
Everyone knows that for many years fingerprinting has been a way of identifying criminals and even some notorious criminals have tried to alter their fingerprints. As they say, “crime doesn’t pay” because they were usually caught anyway and some even charged with obstructing justice for trying to change their fingerprints. Besides there is now DNA testing that has aided law enforcement to a great degree. Fingerprinting is also used for many good purposes, such as identifying missing people and finding children that have been abducted.
What is really surprising about fingerprints is the way they are formed on our fingers in the first place. Fingerprints are formed in the womb before we are even born. Fingerprints are formed by the pressure of the baby’s hands touching their surroundings in the womb. Other factors are genetics, location in the womb, and the density and flow of the amniotic fluid. All of this creates what is called “friction ridges” that causes the fingerprints on the baby’s hands. Fingerprints are fully formed on a baby several months before they are born! It is also amazing that identical twins do not share the same fingerprints even though they have the same genetic code. We truly are “Fearfully and wonderfully made”.*
The next time you’re feeling unimportant or that you life doesn’t matter, look at you fingers and remember everyone has different finger prints, even identical twins. You are unique, “fearfully and wonderfully made”,* and loved by God.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
Pamela Perry Blaine