These Hands

These Hands

Grandad sat staring down at his hands

deep in thought, in another place,

His thoughts were far away, in other lands

I sat by him, looked into his face,

‘Are you ok Granddad, you seem so quiet

‘I’m fine’ he said, ‘thanks for caring’

That life etched in his face, you couldn’t buy it

rubbing his hands, sitting, staring

“Have you ever looked at your hands?” he said

“I mean, really looked at your hands?”

I stared down with my fingers partly spread

thought about those playground handstands,

I tried to work out the point he was making

He looked, could see the confusion,

on his face a smile started, slowly breaking

he said, ‘forgive the intrusion’.

“Stop and think for a moment, look at my hands

though wrinkled, they were once my tools,

Life has slipped through them like shifting sands

but always we’ve followed the rules,

They’ve put food in my mouth, clothes on my back

as a child I’d fold them in prayer,

They’ve saved me from harm, kept me on the right track

pulled up my boots, put a comb through my hair.

They have been dirty, raw, broken and bent

they shook as I held our newborn son,

They have covered my face in bad times I spent

but never once have they held a gun,

They trembled with love when I married your Gran

and when I walked your mum down the aisle,

Put bread on the table as a working man

In God’s house they allowed me to smile.

Today, when my body is racked with pain

they hold me up and keep me strong,

They’ll be there for me again and again

not knowing any right from wrong,

They’ll be folded when I no longer wake

but, more importantly understand

It will be these strong hands that God will take

as he leads me to the promised land.

Just six months later Granddad passed away

and his words came back to my mind.

As I knelt in the church clasped my hands to pray

for a man who was wise and kind.

Now I am old and grey with silvery strands

With my grandson whom I adore

‘Grandad, why are you staring at your hands?

and life’s circle begins once more.

Eric Harvey 18/07/2020

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in Senior Chatters

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  1. Such touchingly lovely images come to mind with your words. Not personal ones but the deep longing to experience that kind of moment of shared wisdom and grace. I believe that there are still people and moments like this because there is so much beauty still left in our world that can appear often sad and dark. It remains for us to carry the light of our loving Lord Jesus into a world full of bitter disappointment and try to comfort one another.