Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was ok.
She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking, she said in a clear strong voice.
I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were ok.
Have you ever looked at your hands, she asked. I mean really looked at your hands?
I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands, as I tried to figure out the point she was making.
Grandma smiled and related this story:
Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your 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 when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. 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 dried the tears of my children and caressed the love of my life. They held my young husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.
They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were firm yet gentle when I held my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band, they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They replied to the letters written home and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse and watched as my daughter walked down the aisle.
Yet, they were strong and sure when I grabbed my child and jerked her away from danger when a car was going too fast, and they clasped my children lovingly for stitches, broken bones, and measles. They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in anger when I didn't understand. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body, and those of my family. From the day a new baby was born, to the day I washed my first love's body and prepared him for his final viewing.
They have been sticky, wet, bent, broken, dried, and raw.
To this day when not much of anything else of me works real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and continue to fold in prayer. These hands are the mark of where I've been and the richness 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 - God Bless Grandma.