I am fascinated by them. Hands.
I've read in books that the first thing you notice about a person are their hands, but in most cases that's not true. Unless you're Sherlock Holmes, I don't think we really pay much attention to people's hands. At least, I don't. I look at a person's face, see what they're wearing, maybe notice the way they carry themselves, but rarely do I think to look at their hands and see what kind of clues to their life may be revealed there...what kind of stories they tell...what kind of emotions they speak without using words.
It's cliche, but you can tell a lot about a person by their hands.
Today I went to pick up some flats of strawberries at another farm. The man we bought them from was a kind, soft-spoken sort of fellow, with an easy smile and a friendly way. When I wrote out the check and he took it from me, I noticed his hands.
Tough, creased, but smoothed down with use. Capable. Hardworking. Steady. Reliable. Honest. Hands worn down from years of hard work, seasoned with life, softened with age. The hands of a farmer. I appreciated those hands.
My daddy's hands are tough like that too, only they're more leathery and brown as an Indian's. My mama's hands have dirt under their fingernails from weeding the garden. My grandma's hands are a little shaky now, but they've got wisdom and experience from all the work they've done, all the dresses they've sewn, the pies they've baked, the small heads they've touched. My grandpa's hands have been splattered with paint time and time again. My ninety-something-year-old piano teacher's hands were once long and slender and could fly over the ivory keys like hummingbird's wings, though now they are wrinkled and bent, they still try. The little boy I danced with at my cousin's graduation party has smooth hands -- young hands, eager hands that are not sure yet but someday will try and find what they should do.
My own hands are unextraordinary. There's dirt under my fingernails too, a permanent dent in my right middle finger from holding a pen, and my fingers aren't long enough to reach an F chord on the guitar. (At least, I can't make them do it.) They're young hands too. They usually smell like my dog. Sometimes they're foolish hands, not knowing where they fit. They fumble and they fidget and they break things. They fix them and start over, and mess things up over and over. They try to put the pieces back together.
But my hands will learn. They are the tools God gave me to use in this life, the ones I want to use for His glory and my family's good. I want to work with them, create with them, build with them, love with them.
Someday I want to have beautiful hands -- honest, loving, unstoppable hands -- so that when people see them, they'll notice them, and they'll think, like I did when I noticed that farmer's hands, that they're something wonderful.