Eighty Year Old Hands


These are not soft hands.

They are tough and worn and calloused.

Eighty years of use.

I’m sure I did, but I don’t remember holding my Dad’s hand when I was small.  We never had a Daddy-Daughter dance.

Unless dancing around important topics counts.

You see, my Dad is not much on words or sentiment.

But his hands tell a story.

Tightly clasping a dollar.  Penny-pinching to make every cent count, yet generously using those hands to fix a bike or fill a gas tank.

Saying “I love you” in words was never an easy thing for a man of his generation, but

 Working hard to provide for his family, Dad made sure we had everything we needed and more.

Those hands were valuable tools, saving thousands of dollars over the years.

If he couldn’t fix it, that meant it was probably time to get a new one.  “Handyman” was an understatement!

Oh, and those rough-looking hands could tackle a tune on just about any stringed instrument.  He was providing background music for our home long before there was iTunes.

One of my favorite memories will always be the sound of music in our house.  Maybe that’s why I still remember songs from my childhood and music often speaks right to my heart.

Especially now.

Dad can hardly use those hands.

They are swollen and stiff and can’t do the things they once could.

But they are still showing love, as he cares for my mother.

His service is not always four-star quality, but it counts.

Dad isn’t well, yet he presses on and is willing to do what we would call mundane tasks, “just because he can.”

Like he has to prove he’s still good for something.

Don’t believe it for a second.

I think he continues to use those hands to demonstrate a love that he can’t verbalize.

So he lets his hands do the talking.

And just as loudly I want him to hear me say, “I know.”  I know you are trying to show us your love in the best way you can.

We love you, too, Dad.

I really don’t know if he will ever read this, but I wrote it for me.  I needed it to be said.  Dad is in end-stage kidney failure, and with Father’s Day just around the corner I couldn’t afford to wait.  I have been praying faithfully for him for a very long time.  Just this Sunday the message my Pastor/husband preached was from 2 Kings where Elisha prayed,

“Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.”  (v. 17)

Right there in the middle of Point #2: You Aren’t As Alone As You Think, I was reminded that there is a spiritual battle going on.  While I pray many things for my Father, there is nothing more important than praying for his eyes to be opened to the fact that God loves him.  As much as I desire for him to turn to the Lord, God wants him to turn to Him in repentance and faith even more than I do.

“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

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