Friday, January 19, 2007

Ode to my hands

Hands are the heart's landscape. Pope John Paul II

As a young woman my hands were small, slender and smooth.
Now my hands are looking old, wrinkled with visible veins.

I fell several years ago, my hands reaching out to break the fall, and broke my wrist so severely that my hand became swollen and I could not use it for many weeks. After the pins and then the cast were removed, I spent several months in therapy with a hand specialist. With her expertise and encouragement and exercise I eventually recovered the full use of my hand much to the surprise of my orthopedic surgeon and my therapist. They did not expect me to regain full use.

Since that time I have been mindful of my hands. They took care of my children when my children were babies and held their hands, as they grew older. They have held the hands of my grandchildren and now, my great-granddaughter. They have washed many dishes (I actually married before the advent of the dishwasher), folded many clothes and fixed broken toys. They have administered first aid to my children and held the hands of my family and friends when they needed comforting.

My hands have been blessed with creativity. They have embroidered, knitted, done needlepoint, smocked and quilted. My hands have drawn and painted, cut and pasted many craft projects, held a camera and taken photographs. My hands have enjoyed the sensual feel of fabrics and have sewn clothes for me and for my children. They sewed and beaded a quilted chuppah for my daughter's wedding. They have made many gifts for the people I love.

My hands have provided me the pleasure of playing the piano. My hands have kneaded dough, baked cookies and cooked for my family and friends and guests. They have arranged flowers and pulled weeds and planted bulbs.

My hands tickled the backs of my husband and my children. My hands held their heads when they were sick and throwing up. My hands have petted many dogs that I have loved.

My hands have held the chalice, offering “the blood of Christ, the cup of salvation” during communion. I have laid my hands on others to pray for their healing.

My hands touched my father as he lay dying and touched my mother as she lay dying.

My hands have worn my engagement ring and my wedding band, the diamond ring my parents gave me when I finally graduated from college at the age of 40, and all the beautiful rings that my father made for me.

My hands are no longer smooth but they have served me well and deserve respect and appreciation. They have been the instruments of my soul. I pray that I will never take them for granted as I used to do.

May the graciousness of the Lord our God be upon us;
Prosper the work of our hands; prosper our handiwork. Psalm 90:17


  1. Lovely!! The swan.

  2. Reading your words, I can hardly imagine your hands more beautiful than when they are on the keyboard.
    Thank you!