You can tell a lot about a person from their hands. Time takes a toll on them, and they each tell a story. Stories of love and loss, scars and age spots. Hands that have washed many dishes after family meals. Hands that have lovingly changed, burped, and held children closely. Hands that have labored for an entire lifetime, providing a roof and food for their family. They are a representation of the gardens one has sown, both in the soil and in life.
In my short lifetime, I have held many hands.
My father’s as he fought for life. I would sleep in a recliner beside his hospital bed, and as he fell asleep, I would hold his hand through the slats of the bed. The circle of life continued as he did the same for me during my battle with cancer.
My mother’s as her life slipped away. I could tell she was already holding the hand of God. In those moments of holding her hand, I thought about the countless times she had held mine. The day I was born, when I crossed the road as a child, and many times just as a silent reassurance that she was there. I will forever miss holding her hands.
On my mission trips to Kenya and Ethiopia, I treasured the beauty of colors. To this day, my favorite picture I have ever taken is of the hands of sweet children clinging to my arm in the slums of Nairobi. The clay-like mud filled the marks in their small hands as if capturing the strife that had composed their lives thus far. Such beauty in the sadness.
My grandparents. The hands of the elderly are particularly beautiful. What a blessing to earn the withered tapestry of veins in your final act of life…road maps to the soul. Oh, the many places they have traveled in this circle of life.
And this morning, as I sit holding the sweet, chubby hand of my newborn son, I am trying to freeze this moment in time. Someday he, in what will seem like the blink of an eye, will be holding my hands at the end of my life. Withered, drawn, a road map of veins, and oh so blessed to have experienced the circle of life in all its splendor.