You know all those email forwards that constantly plague our in-boxes? Well, sometimes they’re worth reading – maybe even worth reading twice. My friend sent me the following lovely message. I would like to offer proper credit to whomever originated both the photo and the accompanying text.** (**Editor’s note: a reader has commented and provided the following info: “The picture was taken by Pamela McFarland Walsh. The poem is by Melinda Clements. Read the story of this generational picture on Pamela’s website (here).” )
“I was privileged to take a photo of ‘Five Generations of Women’ shortly before my 93 year-old Grandmother passed away last year. The photo, shown below [coming soon], features the hands of my Grandmother, Mom, Sister, Niece and Great-Niece. While I can’t take credit for the idea, I was so happy to have had the suggestion & capture this moment. It inspired a friend of mine to do something similar which turned out so beautiful and a special keepsake prior to her father’s passing.”
– Melinda Clements
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
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
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
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
I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God
reached out and took my grandma’s hands and led her home.
When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my
children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and
caressed and held by the hands of God.
I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my
When you receive this, say a prayer for the person who sent it to
you, and watch God’s answer to prayer work in your life. Let’s continue
praying for one another.
Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both.
Passing this on to one not yet considered a friend is something Christ would do.
– Melinda Clements, Author