Monday, May 5, 2014

Hands


My grandmother's hands during my grandfather's funeral.

Have you ever really studied some one's hands?  That may sound like a strange question but I love hands.  They tell the story of a person's life.  My husband's hands are strong and callused.  His wedding ring has scratches and dents from being worn at work; it fits his ring finger just right.  I have every inch of my kids' hands memorized.  They are soft and small.  Two of my children have long fingers like my husband and the other has short stubby fingers (like myself).

My mother's hands are some of my favorite.  She wears the engagement ring of my great grandmother, something that will someday be on my hand.  My mom's hands have given me hundreds of back rubs.  I use to lay my head in her lap and she would gently run her fingers through my hair or make tiny circles on my forehead.  Her hands have made thousands upon thousands of cookies, cakes, and meals that have fed our family.  Her hands have not only comforted me but also my children.  I love her hands.

My grandmother's hands...it seems like I can remember every crease and wrinkle.  Her hands taught my mother how to be such an amazing mom.  Her hands played the piano and organ at church.  Her hands made the Christmas season special by playing the bells in the bell choir.  Her hands sewed hundred of dresses and articles of clothing for children in Haiti.  Her hands were always warm and welcoming. I can remember exactly how her rings sat and I wear her watch almost every day.  They were hard working hands which displayed years of love and care.

My grandfather's hands had short stubby fingers.  His wedding band always appeared just a tad too snug.  For 40 plus years his hands worked in the railroad system.  His hands made thousands of meals for unfortunate people through the program he helped run called Grace Cafe.  I can remember exactly the way he would quickly run his hands together as he chucked (usually when he was up to mischief).  I also remember how they held the newspaper.  His hands were full of love.

My great grandmother's hands were often found holding yarn and crochet needles.  When her eye sight became bad she would crochet by feeling with her hands.  Her hands connected thousands of people to their loved ones through phones calls.  She was a telephone operator during the 1920's, operating the switch board.  She taught her daughter and then granddaughter how to bake and care for their families.  In her nineties, her skin was paper thin and covered with age spots.  Her knuckles knobby with arthritis.  Her hands were...beautiful.

Sometimes when cuddling with my kids on the couch, I notice they will rub my hands or play with my wedding band.  I wonder if they also have a fascination with the hands of our family.  When they see my hands do they think about the meals I make with love, the thousands of baths I have given them, the head rubs and back rubs when they don't feel well, or how tightly my hands grip together when I pray for them?  I am sure at the ages of 9, 6, and 4 they are not thinking about those things but some day they will.  They will realize the significance of hands the first time they see a wedding band on their newly married spouse, or the first time they compare the size of their hand to a tiny new baby.

The next time you are sitting still with a loved one, look down at their hands and memorize every line and crease and remind yourself how much you love that person and their hands.  Our hands are one of the most beautiful ways we can show love.  Sometimes that love is through hard work and other times it is through a soft touch.

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me."  Psalm 139:10

My great grandmother's hands with her crochet hook and afghan.

** I have a book that I started years ago.  I had each of my grandparents and parents make a large hand print with ink on a piece of card stock.  Next to their hand print, I had each person write their signature and favorite saying, quote, or verse (signatures are another favorite thing of mine).  I didn't realize how much I would treasure those hand prints and signatures until two of my grandparents passed away.  Things like that are so precious to me.

***Thank you to my cousin, Kristi, for always sharing your amazing photos.

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