It’s funny how you never notice someone aging when you live with them most of the time. Its like suddenly one day, they have aged and you have no clue how that happened. It struck me today watching Beloved’s hand grasp the steering wheel. These are older hands, hands of a man who has experienced a great deal more distress and trauma than when I first met him.
Perhaps his hands also represent lessons learned through experiences and friendships. And they surely represent the journeys he has been on in that time.
He has a small scar, barely noticeable now, on his left thumb courtesy of a stubborn window that wouldn’t close, but gave way under pressure. I wonder, when people look at his thumb, do they notice the scar? Do they wonder how he got it or does it even matter to them.
His are hands of a man who hasn’t worked manual labor, which I’m sure some people notice when they look at his hands. He has been blessed and able to choose to make his work of the intellectual variety rather than manual. And his hand tell that tale in their softness and immaculate manicure.
It’s hard to believe that those were than hands that so tightly gripped mine when we heard the words “sorry, you have cancer”. Those hands were the ones that balled up into fists as he endured radiation and chemo. And those were the hands that slapped the desk with glee when he was told he was cancer-free now.
Those are the same hands, strong and sure, that can also be so gentle and unsure when it comes to dealing with my follies and health. Those are the hands that aren’t sure if they should touch me when I’m in pain, or try to soothe me when I rage at whatever it is that has my attention for the given moment.
Those hands have patted students on the back, clapped in celebration as students graduated and shook the hands of newly made PhDs. They’ve also held new born babies, and clasped the hands of the dying. They have held many a book and dropped many a tool.
And now, suddenly today, as I watched him drive the car, I realized that like the rest of him, his hands have grown a little older. A little different. Not that you would notice easily if you live with him all the time…but changed nonetheless.
Changed and yet the same. The hands that still reach for mine, as mine reach for his. The hands that hold me and are there for me are a little older, a little more experienced like the man they are attached to. Just as I’m sure mine have changed and altered over time and experience. Still we shall hold it and each other together with this changing hands of ours, hope and trust, faith and love that no matter what else comes our way we will somehow find a way to handle it.