I was noticing my hands today. Suddenly, they’re looking older to me. The skin doesn’t have the elasticity that it once did,  and is looking a little bit like crepe paper. I have a scar on my left hand where my mom’s dog Oliver bit me while I was dog-sitting. My mom was sick in the hospital on and off for months. I think about that difficult time every time I see it.

As a child, my hands helped me swim, climb trees, complete school work, and eat. They are the same hands that were later folded in prayer beside my mom’s hospital bed, begging God to let her live.

As a wife, my hands have carried the ring that links me to my husband. They fit into his hands when we watch a movie, and have the power to make him feel loved simply by touching his shoulders after his long days at work.

As a mother, my hands have held my newborn babies, changed diapers, wiped tears, and bandaged wounds. They have helped me provide meals for my family, tuck my children into their beds at night, and braid my daughter’s hair before school. I loved the feel of their soft, pudgy hands when they were little, and then the feel of their bony fingers as their little hands have grown. It saddens me to see their hands grow larger than mine, but regardless of their size, they still fit perfectly into my hands when we cross the street or sit together in church. I know that one day my hands will hold their hands on their graduation days, their wedding days, and then hold their babies.

As a nurse, my hands have been more vital to me than a stethoscope or any medications. I have carefully dressed painful wounds, bathed patients who couldn’t do it for themselves, brushed teeth, and dried tears. My hands have skillfully placed intravenous lines and nasogastric tubes, and held infants for lumbar punctures. I have used my hands to help new mothers learn how to nurse their newborn babies and change their diapers. I have given hundreds of babies their first bath and dressed them in clothes for the first time. My hands have also given people their last bath, after their last breath, when they have no family near.

My hands almost have a heart of their own. They tell the story of my life when I look at them. My hands are a constant reminder that I am on a mission to make the world a better place. What stories do your hands tell?

I took the photo above when my mom was sick. I wanted to remember what her hands looked like just in case that was the last time I’d see them. I’m so grateful that she’s still here, still using her hands to create her story.

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