She settled into the porch swing with a sigh. She had forgotten how tiring a day of canning vegetables in a hot kitchen could be. She had left her daughter to finish the last of the cleaning up so she could rest.
She looked down at her hands, tired from a day of tightening rings and lids on the jars and from them being in and out of hot water. Her hands had aged. Loosened skin, knuckles protruding, and blood veins emphasizing the wrinkles. She had once taken pride in keeping her hands soft and firm with daily use of lotions and her nails always well-manicured. She remembered being a young woman of 20 years old, her then first love admiring her beautiful hands.
“Only one thing more would make your hands the most beautiful in the world,” he had said softly.
“What is that?” she wondered.
“If you would wear this,” he replied as he slipped a solitaire onto her slender finger.
That had begun years of putting those hands to work creating a welcoming home. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, her hands were never idle. Caring for her husband and then the three children that quickly came had given her great joy. Her hands had calmed childhood fears in the middle of the night. They had brought love and healing to scrapes and bruises. Her hands had grown stronger and busier, even doling out discipline to headstrong kids.
As the children had grown older, her hands helped with school projects, taught the skills of cooking and sewing. Even playing catch with her son when his Dad was not available. When her children moved on to lives of their own, she turned even more of her time to meeting the needs in the community. She prepared meals, taught Sunday School and trained younger women in the art of making homemade breads. Then lovingly, they had held the hands of her only love as he passed into the hands of God. Yes, her hands had aged.
“Whatcha doing, Grandma?” her 5 year old grandson asked. He came out the front porch screen door, letting it slam behind him, as he took another bite of his chocolate chip cookie. She smiled as she saw him enjoying yet another result of her ever busy hands.
“Oh, I’m just looking at my old hands.”
“They’re not old, Grandma. They’re soft. And look.” He placed one of his own hands up against her hand, palm to palm.
“See, our hands fit.”
Her hands seemed to have gotten smaller through the years, but to her grandson they were just right.
She patted the seat beside her and said, “Come sit with me and we’ll swing.”
Popping the last bite of cookie in his mouth, he reached for her hand and climbed up beside her. “And look, Grandma,” he said as he again took one of her hands in his. “I can squeeze the skin on your hand together and it will stay like that ‘til I push it down. Isn’t that cool?”
She chuckled and as they began swinging, he began singing.
“You know, God,” she thought. “My hands are like my relationship with You. As a new believer, I became a jewel in Your eyes. Then as I grew as a Christian, I stayed busy trying to serve You. I grew stronger in my faith. Yet the longer I’ve lived, I’ve become more pliable, more moldable. And yes, I’ve learned to grow smaller so that You could be bigger. And thank you Lord, that I know someday You will take my hand and bring me to Your side.” She looked at her aged hands again. “Yes, Lord. My hands are beautiful.”