The day my mother went home to be with Jesus was a day I will never forget. Still etched upon my mind as her body lay in the bed for us all to visit one last time, I noticed her hands. “Look how beautiful her hands are,” I remember telling my sister. I remember my gaze being fixed on them. It was as if they were speaking to me kindness, gentleness, and goodness and love.
These were not the hands I remember my mother having as we were growing up. Her hands were cracked from hard work. Her nails never polished. I don’t think she ever had a manicure in her life. Often they were stained from some project she had us doing to keep us busy like making Ukrainian Eggs. I remember my mom most with her hands covered in dirt for she loved to garden. She was either planting seeds or tending the plants that were growing up. The seeds she planted were not just in the soil of the earth, but also in the soil of her children, which were 7, plus all the other children who she did seed planting in with Girl Scouts, CCD and Junior Garden Club (just to name a few). Her hands were dried and cracked from the long hours spent washing dishes and watering the seeds she had planted in our hearts. I can still see her nails with dirt under them from the constant weeding she did in her flower gardens and in our hearts. Her rough hands nourished our bodies with good food to eat and took care of us when we were sick.
As she knelt by our beds when we were young, her folded hands taught ours to pray to a loving God.
But now her hands were at rest just as her soul was. She had used her hands for good. Martha seemed the perfect name for my mother who always was busy serving someone.
Another pair of hands that were just as beautiful were those I saw during my recovery from surgery. They were the hands of His body. The body of Christ in action, the way God designed it to be. Carrying one another’s burden-lifting each other up in prayer - serving selflessly. These I saw as the body of Christ expressed its heart of love for my family and me.
Hands of little girls who drew me get well pictures
Hands that penned sweet words of encouragement
Hands that folded and lifted us up in prayer
Hands that prepare and carried nourishing meals to our family
Hands that brought gifts to cheer
Hands that took on dirt to weed my gardens
Hands that wrote checks to help with the medical bills
Hands that took on grime to clean my house and do my laundry
Hands that took care of my physical needs
Hands that were laid on me with healing prayers
Hands that held mine and walked with me every step of the way
And of course the most beautiful hands of all.
Hands that catch me when I fall
Hands that pick me up again and dust me off
Hands that point the right direction when I don’t know which way to go
Hands that nudge me forward when I am afraid to take the first step
Hands reaching out touching me with healing, comforting my soul
Hands that hold up the whole world and everything in it
Hands that wrote the truth
Hands that fed the multitudes
Hands that cleansed the leapers
Hands that broke bread and washed feet
Hands that took up a gnarled cross and carried it to Calvary
Hands that took the nails for me
Hands that reach out still to each of us
Lord, give us your heart of love and let our hands become your hands to minister to those in need.