Grandpa, some 90 + years, sat feebly on the patio bench. He didn't move, just sat with his head down staring at his hands. When I sat down beside him, he didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat, I wondered if he was OK.
Finally, not really wanting to disturb him, but wanting to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was OK.
He raised his head and looked at me and smiled, "Yes, I'm fine. Thanks for asking," he said in a clear strong voice.
"I didn't mean to disturb you, Grandpa, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK", I explained to him.
"Have you ever looked at your hands", he asked. "I mean really looked at your hands?" I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands.....as I tried to figure out the point he was making. Grandpa smiled and related this story:
"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 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 boots.
* 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 trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse and walked my daughter doen the aisle.
* They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body.
* They have been sticky and wet, bent, broken, dried and raw.
*And to this day, when not much of the rest of me works real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and continue to fold in prayer.
* These hands are the mark of where I have been and the ruggedness of my life.
I will never look at my hands the same again. When my hands are hurt or sore, I think of Grandpa's hands and the words he said to me.