Saturday, October 27, 2012

These Hands

I sit beside Lucas on the couch, and he gently rubs his fingers along the wrinkles and loose skin on my hands, and I am reminded of sitting beside my grandmother in church and playing with the veins on her hands as my attention wandered.  I loved her hands -- tiny and soft, though old and wrinkled.

My hands have never been pretty -- for years the nails were bitten to the quick, and they have always been less than graceful.  My cousin had beautiful hands, and I was so jealous as a teenager of her delicate fingers and long fingernails.  My good friend also had lovely hands.  When our children were little and we spent much time together, I loved watching her expressive hands as she cooked, sewed and tended her little ones.  But, mine were always a disappointment -- too wide, with stubby fingers.

Now, though, I look at my hands with gratitude -- they have served me well all these years.  They have done work I enjoy -- chopping, stirring, kneading, providing sustenance for those I cherish.  They have done heavy work -- painting walls and laying stone in my garden.  They have earned money -- typing quickly and accurately and organizing files and records.  They have held my newborn babies close, rubbed tired little backs and sewn Halloween costumes and fancy party dresses.  They have decorated, baked, and wrapped gifts for many Christmases.  They have massaged the feet of dying loved ones, stroked hands and faces of friends and family, touched, caressed and loved.  They have arranged flowers and planted gardens and written words of love and comfort.  They have held the hands of my children and grandchildren as they toddled into the larger world.  They have been folded in prayer.  They have held books.  They have comforted, and they were stroked gently once when I needed it most. 

They will never be as lovely as I would have liked, and with each passing year the wrinkles and veins are more prominent, but they are hands that have known both the joyful heights and devastating depths of emotion, and each wrinkle is a testament to the full life I have lived --

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