Monday, May 24, 2010
Today, while my father-in-law dozed, I noticed his hands.
Remarkably, I recognized them because my husband's are copies of the original. At first I choked up because Dad is in the hospital and he's feeling cruddy and he's in the process of... is there a pretty or gentle way to say this... dying.
But then I began to think about what his hands have accomplished in his eighty years on this planet and I wanted to weep for another reason. Like a potter working with soft, wet clay, his hands have shaped my life and the lives of so many others. We all bear unique marks from this man. Almost as if he pressed a thumbprint into us that is covered by the different glazes we wear.
Dad's hands are the hands of a hard-working man of great character. I imagine there are still a few callouses on his hands because he has never really retired from working for his family and their futures. He has been unafraid to get his hands dirty while being a picture of a faithful and loving husband, a tireless listener, and a problem solver. He is respectful but he cuts through the nonsense and gets to the point. He laughs and though rare, I've now seen him cry. Above all he points, unashamedly, to God as the ultimate need in our lives.
Though he is weakening, and I saw a slight tremor, those hands remain as a testimony of who he has been and what he has accomplished. And they are doing a new work. They are teaching us about dying with faith, with dignity and with character.