In church last Sunday, I felt a very light touch on the back of my hair. Wondering what was touching my hair, I suddenly realized it was my almost 3-year-old granddaughter, who was ever so carefully using one tiny finger to gently go from about the middle of my hair to the end of the strands. And then I smiled as I heard her whisper to her mother, "Mom, I touched her hair!"
My mind marveled at how much love a little girl's soft touch could bring to me and how she was so careful not to let it be more than fleeting.
A bit later in the service, I had turned sideways a little and saw this same little girl with her small soft hand inside her father's hand that bore the marks of hard, physical labor. I noticed a bruise on one of his fingernails and as I did, I saw his daughter slowly put the tip of her finger on it. I could see her curiosity about the bruise and how hesitatingly she touched it as if she was afraid she would cause pain.
My thoughts drifted to how little attention we pay at times to something so simple as hands. A very long time ago I read an article a woman wrote about her mother's hands. The author went into detail about what her mother's hands told about her life – joy, sadness, love, disappointment, taking care of her husband and children, protecting and providing for her family.
Then there's a song, a very thought-provoking song, a recording artist made about her father's hands. Whether it actually was about her father's hands or just a song doesn't matter. It's still one that makes me think about my dad's hands and my grandfather's.
One day I read a story about a picture so many are familiar with ... a pair of scarred, broken, work-worn hands folded in prayer. According to the story, they are the hands of a man who sacrificed his hands working in the mines so his brother could go on to an art academy. To honor the man's selflessness and love, his brother rendered a much loved, world renowned painting of those hands.
As I smiled at how my granddaughter had stroked my hair and looked at the gentleness of her father's hand holding hers, I thought how much we can convey of love, care, compassion and concern simply by the touch of our hands.
We shake hands when we say hello to someone we haven't seen for a while without thinking that at the same time we are expressing friendship and good wishes. A child cries and we use our hands to comfort them.
In the morning, at night, perhaps at other times of the day, we fold our hands in prayer and supplication as we silently offer thankfulness for our blessings and petition on behalf of others.
The hands of some produce music to soothe people or help them celebrate an occasion or just life.
We do so much with our hands without giving any thought to what they are doing. Perhaps ... once in a while ... it would be appropriate to think of how much good we can do with our hands, and give thanks that we have the ability to do so.
In next week's Courier, Sandy Laumeyer brings her award-winning column to the Hi-Line Farm & Ranch section for a visit.