Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench.
She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.
When I sat down beside her she didn't even acknowledge my presence. Not really wanting to disturb her but checking on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK.
She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. 'Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking,' she said in a clear voice strong. 'I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,' I explained to her.
'Have you ever looked at your hands? she asked. 'I mean really looked at your hands?' I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up, palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making. Grandma 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 now wrinkled, shriveled and weak, have been the tools I have used all my life to reach and embrace life. 'They caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots.
Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war. They wrote my letters to him . They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. 'They have held my grandchildren, consoled neighbours, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand. They have covered my face, combed my hair, 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, even help me to operate the TV remote control!
And lastly at night they come together in prayer to thank God for another good day gone by.
We can all relate to this story, in our own ways. Indeed, our hands do do our deeds. And we need to acknowledge that. Hence there is a Hindu prayer I always say as I wake up to a new day whilst I look at my hands: “Karagre vasate Laxmi, kara moole Saraswati, Karamadhyetu Govindam, Prabhate Kara darshanam” which translates as let the Goddess Laxmi (giver of wealth, materialism) reside in the tips of my fingers, Goddess Saraswati (giver of knowledge,art)reside in the roots of my fingers and let Lord Krishna sit centrally on my palm, as with these hands I welcome this new dawn of the day”.