Grandpa’s Hands

Dear Fellow Journalers,

In honor of all fathers on Father’s Day:



   Grandpa, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. He didn’t move, just sat with his head down staring at his hands. When I sat down beside him he didn’t acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if he was OK. Finally, not really wanting to disturb him but wanting to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was OK. 
    He raised his head and looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine, thank you for asking,” he said in a clear strong voice. 
   “I didn’t mean to disturb you, Grandpa, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,” I explained to him. 

   “Have you ever looked at your hands,” he asked. “I mean really looked at your hands?” 

    I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down.  No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point he was making. Grandpa smiled and related this story: 
   Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. 

   They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. 
   They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. 
   As a child my Mother taught me to fold them in prayer. 
   They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. 
   They held my rifle and wiped my tears when I went off to war. 
   They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. 
   They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. 
   Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. 
   They wrote the letters home and trembled and shook when I buried my Parents and Spouse and walked my Daughter down the aisle. 
   Yet, they were strong and sure when I dug my buddy out of a foxhole and lifted a plow off of my best friend’s foot. 
    They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn’t understand. 
    They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. 
     They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. 
    And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer. 
    These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of my life. 
   But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. 

   And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ  
    I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my Grandpa’s hands and led him home. 
    When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and wife I think of Grandpa. I know he has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face. 
    When you receive this, say a prayer for the person who sent it to you and watch God’s answer to prayer work in your life. Let’s continue praying for one another 
    Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both. 
    Passing this on to one not considered a friend is something Christ would do. 

To those who don’t celebrate Father’s Day

Dear Fellow Journalers,

There are some men among us, our neighbors, friends, bosses, deacons at our church, who cannot celebrate Father’s Day. Some have no father to honor. Either they died before they were born, or they died in war or simply left. Some of these men had fathers who were abusive or went to jail.

Some have children who simply could care less, unless of course they want something. One man has grandchildren he sees once every 6 months. The rest of the time they ignore his emails, tweets, cell phone calls. He watches them grow up on Facebook surrounded by the other set of grandparents.

Some of these men are fathers of estranged adult children. One the face of it, if asked, many of these men will “blow off” the holiday as if it is just another Sunday. But many will admit that the day they dread is the day after. While many Dad’s will recount what their children and/or grandchildren gave them or how they celebrated, these fathers are left with nothing to say.

While I am no expert and only a compassionate wife and grandmother, I offer these solutions found in research articles.

  1. If you’re affected by someone’s comments (and keep in mind, if you didn’t share your circumstances, they aren’t being rude, they just don’t know) have an exit strategy.
  2. Contact someone to talk to. One father actually sits down every year and writes his son a letter. He can’t mail it as he doesn’t have an address, but he writes anyway and saves it in a folder on his laptop.
  3. Do something fun. Remember, if your spouse is the mother who doesn’t celebrate Mother’s Day, go see a movie or have a special home cooked meal and snuggle on the couch.

Fathers, like mothers, have special roles to play in their children’s life. Some of the men who can’t celebrate will tell you how they did everything they could to raise their children right. They sacrificed, worked long hours or took on a second job, were attentive, tried to make every game or recital, who wanted their children to have a better life than they did. They didn’t give up, until all hope was gone, and yet, late at night, when they think no one will hear, they shed a tear for their son or daughter and pray for their safety, their comfort, their happiness and their souls.

To those fathers, you can only do the best you can do. The rest is up to God.



June 2022

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