Do you remember your grandma’s hands? I remember my great-grandmother’s hands. Gnarled from arthritis, but still strong. Pouring love into the peach cobbler she was sure to have warm from the oven when we would arrive. I recall one time she was ruefully looking at her wrinkled hands. She thought they were past their prime, I thought they were beautiful.
From the time I was a little girl, I was spending time at nursing homes. My first piano recitals were held there, and a part of my heart was too. I learned to love the residents, especially when my mother started taking my brother, sister and I more often with our church group for us to play the piano.
My sister and I would make cards and pictures ahead of time to hand out after the service, carefully coloring and gluing pictures to pieces of construction paper. As we would make our rounds I would hand a little piece of my heart, glued to paper, to eager hands. What they really wanted to hold, though were my hands.
I always made sure to take a minute to hold a hand. Most still surprisingly strong underneath skin that was yielding to the onward march of time. There was almost an urgency, an insistence behind those clasps. As though I were giving them a quick reminder of life and youth, the same feeling you would have holding a fresh rose.
At the same time, those old hands were communicating to me. Life will be hard and life will be joyous. Enjoy every second, the ones you think are bad and the ones you think are good. Seconds are like snowflakes, each one is unique and they melt away just as fast. Life is worth fighting for and hanging on to.
In those quick moments, I almost feel as if they were handing me a baton. They were imparting their strength to encourage me to run the race well. There was an expectation as well, that when it comes my time that I will also hand over that baton and cheer on the next runners of this marathon called life.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1