May 2, 2009

The Veins in Mother's Hands

The shiny brown pews in the church were solid wood, and too temptingly slippery for any wiggly little boy to stay still on. Little girls didn't wiggle as much, 'cause if they did the skin on their bare legs would screech like fingernails on a chalkboard!

My young mother patiently taught us to sit still and listen to the sermon. Sitting quietly was a tall order for sure, but she was patient and wise. Once in awhile she brought something in her purse to help; like a jar of bugs for my brother to gawk at, or a pad of paper for me to doodle on. I was keenly aware of my father's gaze from the choir, so I worked hard to impress him with my quiet reverence.

I remember my mother's hands folded in her lap, and how the veins on them would stand out as she rested them there. To entertain myself I would trace the veins and push on them under her skin. This would irritate her, and she'd draw them back.

As she grew older I watched her hands change. And when her mother, my dear grandmother, passed away, I determined to reach out and touch her hands. I told myself, "these are the hands that spanked my Uncle Paul" and "these are the hands that stitched little dresses for my mother." "These are the hands that held mine when she taught me to pray." Now they were cold, lying still across her breast. Now she won't need them any more, I thought.

My own hands are changing. Their skin isn't so smooth any more, and their grip is weakened. Sometimes it's difficult to find a comfortable position to rest them in.
My hands have a scheduled number of days, then they will be still.

Lord, here are my hands. I offer them to You to do Your work, until the day we don't need them as they are any more. My life is in Your hands.

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait."

--the words to a song taken from Isaiah 40 that my Uncle Paul's family taught us.
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