Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Hands Tell a Story

I confess I’m a little embarrassed to show my hands. They look so…old.

I can’t hide them like I can the silver strands in my hair. I can only stuff them in pockets or cross my arms and hide them under my armpits.

But my hands can’t be hidden for very long. I have to expose them at the cash register or under the lights of the manicurist or at the dinner table with guests.

I don’t know if they even notice, but I do. And I see…and then reflect…

I see joints deformed from calcium deposits and aching after holding a trowel too long.

But then I reflect. I still have plants I want to plant. Dreams I want to dream. And I protest that I’m not ready to give them up. So I will push through the pain.

I see loose skin creating wrinkled landscapes on the back of my hands.

But then I reflect. These hands tell my story of learning to work hard and being willing to get them dirty.  Scrubbing out diapers in the toilet was hard. Keeping my sister clean while she lay dying was harder. I have always resisted wearing gloves and reached to touch whatever God placed in front of me. I’ve learned that life’s crap is fertilizer for life's fruit. And getting myself a manicure is a waste of money.

I see age spots like permanent cloud shadows on my hands, consequences of too much time in the sun.

But then I reflect. I don’t regret soaking in the rays. Each age spot holds memories of playing under the tropical sun of my childhood and under the Northwest summer sun with my children. And new memories are made as my hands push gently against the backs of my grandchildren while they can swing as high as they can to touch the sky. I wonder under which sun they will find God’s purposes for them.

I see and reflect and then decide there is no shame in knobby, wrinkled, spotted hands. Ask me how they came to look so old and I will gladly tell you their stories.