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Reflections of Life

Presidents write their memoirs. Celebrities do documentaries. Senior citizens sit around and reminisce. There’s another way to look back on your life.


When we are infants, we can’t appreciate the infinite complexity of hands. There are others who look at our hands for us. They appreciate their perfection, their softness, their fragrance, those beautiful dimples. When they are your child’s hands, you want to kiss them, smell them, press them to your cheek. They are as innocent as the child himself.

Before you know it, those hands are seeking your hands; your fingers to hold on to. The child wants to walk and knows that the support will come to them through your hands.

Soon after, those little hands will be holding a pencil and shaping out an “A” or a “B” or a “C” and writing 2 + 2 = 4. Their fingers are smudged with ink and markers.

It doesn’t take too long for those hands to grow. And then those hands will be reaching out to catch a football or hold a tennis racket and hit the ball where the opponent cannot reach it. Fingernails are chipped and scruffy.

Or they will be carefully applying lipstick and blush and combing their hair the way they’re sure to attract that special other person. The fingernails are carefully groomed.

There are famous song lyrics that say “Hands across the table while the lights are low”. A young man takes the hands of a young lady and the cycle begins again.

Now picture the hands of that beautiful, young lady grown old. Her hands have become misshapen by arthritis and life’s toils. The fingers are crooked and gnarled. The former white surface is covered with brown spots, red spots and blue veins.

They must be frightening for a youngster to look at. Imagine what a child must be thinking as he walks down the street holding on to “grandma’s” hands. He looks up to make sure he’s walking with grandma and not some unknown monster whose hands surely don’t look like his.

Hands change with us as we go from one stage of our lives to another. They bear the scars of our experiences. From a bricklayer’s hands to a pianist, from a farmer to an artist, they are God’s little signposts that tell others – I have lived a full life – just look at my hands.

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by   Max Anteby

Comments icon July 6, 2011


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