Tuesday, August 23, 2011
My Fathers Hands
My hands are short, square and the knuckles are knobby. They have been hard working hands, they've had callous from hanging on the monkey bars at school, blisters formed every new school year. I was rather proud of those callouses on my palms.
There were other blisters acquired when helping move wire hay or straw bales in the hay mow each summer. Or from hoeing weeds in my vegetable garden. I am proud of my hands and the work they have done. Dirty nails were not uncommon when digging around in the flower beds. I never thought of them as pretty girls hands however.
My hands are softer now, maybe my spirit is too. I don't have to prove my strength by the blisters on my palms. My strength comes from other places now, more from my convictions in what is fair and just for all people. My callouses are gone or maybe just unseen, those callouses are from learning life lessons the hard way.
My hands now take time to feel the cool stream water, to write a letter, to wipe away a tear or to even hold the hand of another, with love. My hands enjoy picking up a paint brush or a carving tool for my next gourd project. They are rarely blistered these days. I wear rings of silver and turquoise on my short fingers and still admire people who can wear dainty little bands with pretty stones on both hands.
I often wondered where these hard working hands came from. My Mothers hands are a different shape, though no less hard working. Her fingers were longer and more tapered. My sister has hands like our Mother.
Just recently I sat beside the hospital bed of my father. I'd only just discovered this side of my family, I had not seen my father in over fifty years. I sat while he was unconscious and on life support from his stroke, speaking to him, holding his hand and longing to know this stranger, to make some connection to tie us together as father and daughter.
Then before my very eyes, I noticed the hand I held and my heart nearly jumped out of my body! My hands look just like my fathers hands! I had my fathers hands! It was an unexpected gift, a connection to this stranger, a connection to my father. The question I had pondered all my life was answered that very moment.
Later I sat with my brother Mike, I remarked about this little discovery. Mike and I then compared our hands together, they too look the same, even our life lines are the same...... As we compared our hands, front and back, I found that I will no longer think of my hands as anything but beautiful, they are linked to my family, I am linked to my Dad and my brother and that is even more beautiful.