I have a slight obsession with checking out people’s hands. There, I said it. It’s weird and perhaps socially unacceptable, but I can’t help it. I love to look at hands. They say so much about someone. A man’s calloused hands and dirt laced fingernails might suggest that he works hard for his family, putting in long hours at his blue-collar job. A woman’s perfectly manicured, soft hands may say that she is particular about her appearance and takes good care of herself. A child’s sticky, Play-Doh scented hands say, “I’m a kid. I’ve been playing all day and I don’t have a care in the world.” There are two pairs of hands that I’m very familiar with; hands that I’ve seen work, play, and serve others my entire life. They are the hands of my sisters.
My sister, Jessica, is six years older than I. She was like my second mom when we were growing up. I always loved her hands. She has long, piano-player fingers and beautiful fingernails. Her hands were always so gentle with me, whether she was braiding my hair or hugging me, her hands brought me comfort. I always wanted my hands to look like hers, smooth and flawless. Now as an adult, I see past the physical appearance of her hands and I see how she uses them to serve those around her. Jessica’s hands work tirelessly raising her three children all on her own. Her hands rise early in the day and don’t rest until late at night. Her hands take care of other people’s children all day in her career as a teacher. They are calm and kind hands that don’t become easily irritated but have the patience of Job. Her hands comfort crying children and are always there for a certain little sister :) They are hands that can cook, clean, and single-handedly run a household. They are hands that I’m sure feel as if sometimes they are running out of steam, but they are hands that keep going, because they have no choice. They are hands that I hope and pray a sweet, loving man holds in his someday and thanks the Lord for this precious woman by his side. Jessica’s hands are hands that deserve a man’s respect and adoration for all they have done and for all they continue to do. Her hands should be admired for being delicate and graceful, but should be regarded for their strength and resilience that is below the surface.
My sister, Meri, is older than me by three years. Meri’s hands are physically the opposite of Jessica’s. They are small and square, like mine, but her hands are nothing short of beautiful because of what you can’t see. Her hands held mine when we were little girls, playing house or when she was reading to me. Her hands threw a pretty mean punch when we were in high school…but only when absolutely necessary :) Meri’s hands wiped the sweat from my forehead and fed me ice chips when I was in labor with my fourth baby. Her hands wiped the tears away from my face when being in labor with said baby was almost too much pain to bear. I saw Meri’s hands comfort others when she buried her first husband, when it was our hands that should’ve been comforting her. Her resolve was so great to attempt to heal from that tragedy, and I watched those small hands pick up the pieces of a broken life and rebuild a new one. Her hands found love again and are now held tightly by the one who loves and adores her ‘til death do them part. Meri’s hands serve others in every way they can. Whether she’s reaching in her purse to give out a piece of gum, baking someone a wedding cake, or bringing a meal to someone in need, Meri’s capable hands are always taking care of those around her. Those hands have seen the depths of heartbreak, yet refused to allow any circumstances to keep her down. With every valley those hands have fallen in to, they have clawed their way back up to the peak and dared anyone to stand in their way on the journey upwards.
I love my sisters and the examples they have been to me. They continuously do for others, no matter how tired they may be. Their hands live to serve and I can’t help but think their hands are not theirs alone, but the hands of Jesus.