By: Jane Haguel
My Father’s Hands
My Father, ninety plus years, sat feebly in his backyard staring down at his hands. I came and sat down beside him, but he didn’t acknowledge me. I asked, “Dad, are you O.K.?” He looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine.” Then he questioned me, “Have you ever looked at your hands before?” I stared down at my hands, looking them over, palms up and then palms down. I didn’t understand the meaning of his question. He smiled again and told me this story:
“Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout the 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 as a toddler. 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 held my rifle and wiped my tears when I went off to war. Yet, they were strong and sure when I dug my buddy out of a foxhole.. My hands wrote letters home from the war to let my family know that I was okay.
They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn child. My hands trembled and shook when I buried my parents and walked each of my daughters down the aisle.
And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.
These scared hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of my life.
But more importantly, it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when He leads me home. And with my hands, He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.”
Years later, God finally reached out and took my Father’s hands and led him home. One day, my father’s hands will reach out again to grasp my mother’s hands and lovingly embrace her, welcoming her home.