Sunday, October 23, 2005


An old man, probably some ninety plus years, sat
feebly on the park bench. He didn't move,
just sat with his head down staring at
his hands. When I sat down beside him he didn't
acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat
I wondered if he was ok.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb him but wanting
to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was
ok. He raised his head and looked at
me and smiled.

"Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking", he said in a
clear strong voice.

"I didn't mean to disturb you, sir, but you were just
sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make
sure you were ok", I explained to him.

"Have you ever looked at your hands he 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" I said, as I tried to figure out
the point he was making.

Then he 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 rifle and
wiped my tears when I went off to war. They
have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent.
They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to
hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding
band they showed the world that I was married and
loved someone special. They wrote the letters home.
They trembled and shook when I buried my parents
and spouse and walked my daughter down the aisle."

"Yet, they were strong and sure when I dug my buddy out
of a foxhole and lifted a plow off of my best friend's foot.
They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in
fists of anger when I didn't understand.
They have covered my face, combed my hair, and
washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They
have been sticky and wet, bent and broken,
dried and raw."

"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 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 He
won't care about where these hands have been or
what they have done. What He will care about
is to whom these hands belong and how much
He loves these hands. And with these hands
He will lift me to His side and there I will use
these hands to touch the face of Christ."

No doubt I will never look at my hands the same again.
I never saw the old man again after I left the park that
day but I will never forget him and the words he spoke.
When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face
of my children and wife I think of the man in the park.
I have a feeling he has been stroked and caressed and
held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face
of God and feel His hands upon my face.

Thank you, Father God, for hands.

_ Author Unknown


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