Grandma, at some ninety years plus, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.
When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat, I wondered if she was OK. Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check to be certain everything was alright, I asked her if she was OK.
She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking”, she said in a clear strong voice.
“I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK”, I explained to her.
“Have you ever looked at your hands”, she asked. “I mean really looked at your hands?”
I slowly opened my own hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I really had never looked at my hands, as I tried to figure out the point she was making.
Then, grandma smiled and related this story to me: “Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.
They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer.
They tied my shoes and pulled on my snow boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war. They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son.
Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my hero and later, my parents.
They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried, and raw. And to this day, when not much of anything else of me works well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again, continue to fold in everlasting prayer.
These hands are the mark of where I've been, and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly, it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home some day.”
It was such a simple but profound story. Those few moments on that patio bench have changed my outlook on life. I will never look at my hands the same again, I will never take for granted anything that I have, or complain about that which I don’t.
When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the faces of my children and husband I think of grandma. I remember when God reached out and took her hands and led her home. I know she has been caressed and held by the hands of God.
~ original author unknown
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