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Ann Farabee: What’s wrong with your hands?

I remember the moment vividly. After retiring from 30 years of teaching, I worked part time as a math coach in elementary schools. Sitting alongside a young student one day, my focus was to help him discover subtraction. But his focus went elsewhere, as he said, “What’s wrong with your hands?”

I looked.

I saw nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

He kept staring. Then he said, “They have lines in them.”

I looked. They did have lines in them. A lot of lines.

I stared at them.

For I began to remember:

They were the hands that I used as a little girl — climbing trees, playing school, playing games in the back yard.

They were the hands that I used to learn to write with — and began to understand the power in knowledge.

They were the hands that were guided by others throughout my childhood years. Parents, teachers, mentors, friends, those in the church. I learned to do things. I learned about life. I learned about love.

They were the hands that worked tirelessly since I was 16: Roses, McDonalds, Pizza Inn, a cafeteria, and have taught thousands during my years as a teacher.

They have cooked, cleaned, done laundry, made needed purchases — and a whole lot more — so that my home could be a place of love, life, comfort, and joy for my family.

They were the hands that I reached out with to minister to others.

And the hands that I held out as others ministered to me.

They were the hands that held onto some things I did not want to let go — but knew I must.

They were the hands with which I have turned the pages of my Bible.

I feel with them. Touch with them. I give and accept with them.

Grab things with them — sometimes just in the nick of time.

They are hands I held out as I made commitments. Some were kept. Some were not.

Hands that held my baby girl. Hands that held my baby boy. Hands that changed diapers. Hands that reached out to my babies as they learned to walk — and comforted them when they fell.

Hands that wiped away their tears of sadness, failure, disappointments, and joy as my children began their own journeys through life.

The same hands that held my children then became hands that held their children.

The hands that now are used in raising my grandsons as my own.

They are the hands that held onto family members and loved ones that I watched slip away into eternity.

They are the hands that I have lifted in prayer and praise to God.

The word hand or hands is in the Bible almost 2,000 times.

The mind and the heart get much attention — but the hands — should not be overlooked.

For they do the work.

Some day, these hands will be held by a ‘carpenter’ named Jesus, who has nail prints in His hands. The hands that He held out willingly as he offered them to die on the cross for my sins.

What’s wrong with my hands?

I am not sure how I responded to the little guy that day, but his words sure have filled my heart with joy as I ponder that question on this day.

I now have an answer for him:

Nothing, buddy. As a a matter of fact, there is a whole lot right with my hands.

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