A while back Kathy sent me a beautiful piece titled Grandma’s hands. Knowing I wanted to share it at some point, the piece has been safely stowed in my wordpress drafts. Today is the day to haul it out of storage.

You see, I’ve hated how my hands are looking the past few years. Osteoarthritis. Yuck. My grandmother had it. My mother had it. I have it. Kelly refused to look at my hands when we were together at the dog shows in Seward. She has it too. As my younger sister, she didn’t want to see what time has in store for her hands. It has been years since someone mentioned my piano hands, my long beautiful fingers. I had them once upon a time. Now the joints are swollen, with several working their gnarly way to being the envy of every wicked witch. In the past few months I find myself using my middle finger, rather than my index finger, to point. I’ve hated my hands.

Yesterday, Jason Steinle, my favorite chiropractor,
from Health and Harmony stopped by the grooming shop to take a look at Dorje. As Jason’s fingers worked their magic, Ginny commented on his hands, his long fingers. The hands of a surgeon. Or a piano player.

Intent on Jason’s fingers and hands, watching them play up and down Dorje’s spine, I held Dorje. Four hands on Dorje. Dorje was calm…very relaxed at times.
When Jason was done, he showed me how to use my hands
on Dorje’s spine.

As images of coral slowly dancing in the water, filled me this morning, I used my hands, my fingers on Dorje’s spine. I rolled his spine, like waves in the ocean, vertebrae by vertebrae. I felt each vertebrae. I felt the spring – or lack of – in each vertebrae. My fingers worked down the spine into the rigidity and back up the spine to the spring. Down again, feeling a bit more spring with each pass. As I swayed the lower half of his entire spine, I felt the flexibility – or lack thereof. I felt this with my hands. I felt this with my fingers. My gnarly fingers. On the hands I’ve hated lately.

Twice a day I will be using my hands, these gnarly fingers on Dorje’s spine. In about a week, Jason’s hands will check my work. Maybe, just maybe between Jason’s Healing Hands and my gnarly finger, Dorje will regain his ability to walk.

And now, only slightly edited for the heathens among us – or within….

Grandma’s Hands

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 acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK. 

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check 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 strong voice. ‘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 and then 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 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 husband and wiped my tears when he 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 my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse. They have held my children and grandchildren, 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 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.

Several weeks later…

Just recently my sister sent me this picture she took of my mom’s hands.
I so much wanted to add her hands to the thread on “Hands”.
Mom died last week, and I got sidetracked, but here is her contribution…


4 Comments on “:Hands…”

  1. Gail says:

    Please look at sleepingearthed.com. This pad fits on the end of your bed and helps with inflammation while you are sleeping. There are many references to arthritis in the Science and Research section. I have had one on my bed for several months. Please check it out….Dr. David Gersten in San Diego suggested this to me several months ago. I will send you an article he wrote about it..so you will understand how it works….

  2. Kathy says:

    May you heal Dorje with your strong, comforting hands and beautiful mind–

  3. Alma Meredith says:

    HI Debby, I love the article on your hands, I have the knot on my thumbs from typing for many years. I love your nails being a beauty consultant, did you do them yourself or have them done? The trend now is the french mancure or natural. I wish I could print the artilc about grandma’s hands. How do I print that without the whole blog. Roadie is doing fine. Spoiled. He will eat if sit there with him(smile) and tell him to eat or get some water, his vocabulary is very extensive. I will point and he will jump in the car, when I get ready to comb him on my sofa, he will jump up and stretch out and let me do whatever, His ears have become a slight problem with trying to become infected again.



  4. lhasalhady says:

    My friend Jonette has done my nails for years. I groom her yorkie Bella in exchange. Over the years I’ve groomed three other yorkies for her. Alexander, whose name was bigger than he. Lancelot. I called him Lancelittle. And Lizzy, sweet Lizzy.

    When I get a rebase, Jonette does the french manicure. When I get a buff and polish, I request red. I love red nails. Short red nails. 50s red nails. She uses OPI products. The polish names are so clever. Got The Blues For Red. I’m Not Really A Waitress. O’Hare And Nails Look Great. Vodka And Caviar. Malaga Wine. Someday I might name a dog after OPI polish!

    If my buff and polish happens to land right before a dog show weekend, I ask Jonette for a ‘fake’ french manicure, which compliments any outfit. That just means the translucent coat isn’t quite so translucent.

    I am a former nail bitter. The only reason I have nails at all is because they’re acrylic. Jonette is very skilled at her craft! Once when she was on vacation I scheduled a nail appointment with her co-worker. Fell was stunned when she realized my nails weren’t my own!

    Alma, instructions for printing Grandma’s Hands:
    – Using the left click button on your mouse, click at the beginning of what you’d like to print.
    -Holding the left click button down, run the cursor over the text, to the end. Let go of the left click button. The words should now be highlighted blue.
    -Click the right mouse button. Up will come a box with options. Select copy.
    -Now you’re going to paste what you’ve copied. If I want to print something just once, I simply open up an email, paste and print. If I want to save something for future reference or printing, I open a new document in Word, paste and print.
    -To paste in the new document, right click again, which will bring up the cursor and another options box. Select paste and there it will be!

    Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes!

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