“That’s your hand, you know.”
“How did you...?”
“I sketched it from a picture I had of the two of you,” my daughter explained with a smile.
“Thank you, this is so precious - thank you!” I searched for words.
That you know me well enough to know I’d cherish this; that you care enough to create it for me - these things hold so much infinite meaning to me. ‘Thank you’ doesn’t begin to cover it, but I offer it anyway.
The picture hangs on my wall, a beautiful reminder, an heirloom. It’s just two hands, mine and my granddaughter’s, connecting the generations. My hand is depicted with all its imperfections; worn, roughened and softened through years of use. One finger is encircled in the trusting grasp of her tiny hand. Her hand is yet to develop, but gaining strength and learning the holy mystery of the human touch every day.
My hand has now probably touched more generations that came before than that will lie ahead for me. Her hand hopefully will touch more generations ahead than behind, and the circle of life continues.
And I’m at the blessed and precious threshold, holding the key to who she is and from whom she’s come. Oh, grant me Lord, quiet times, patient times, to give her the treasures of my memories. Grant her listening ears and an inquisitive mind that she will receive this treasure as I repeat the stories one by one.
I want her to know of the revolutionary war hero she’s related to and the famous silver screen actress.
I want her to know about her great-great grandfather’s brother who didn’t make it home from World War I. And before him, his feisty mother who married, became pregnant, became a widow, re-married and gave birth all in one year.
There were ‘great-greats’ who emigrated from Germany, became separated, believed the other didn’t make it and then found each other in the great ‘City of Brotherly Love’.
There were firefighters, railroad workers, coal miners, dairy and beef farmers, factory workers, seamstresses, homemakers, teachers, truck drivers, mechanics, computer geniuses, math whizzes, medical personnel, and so many others. Those who came before worked hard to give better lives to those who came after. We must always remember and appreciate that.
Her great-grandfather only got to go as far as the eighth grade and was embarrassed by that, but still he managed to support his large family. He loved music, architecture, practical jokes, the “Roadrunner” cartoon and his wife.
Her great-grandmother sat day after day as a child, waiting for the trolley to bring her a sister or brother, but it never happened. She became a fine seamstress. She loved to cook, to laugh and she learned how to make a little seem like plenty. She loved the song “Sweetheart Tree”, she adored her husband, and she loved the Lord.
Her grandparents can tell her first hand about the ‘recession’ and the gas shortage lines we sat in. We remember Neil Armstrong, Communist Russia, the Wall of Berlin and many other good and bad events.
She must never doubt that we’ve worked hard, that we love our children and that we love her.
More important than anything else, though, she must know that she is precious to and dearly loved by our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, His Son. Through Him and only through Him, her new, little life can become blessed eternal life. I can’t let her miss the richness, the joy, the peace of knowing Jesus.
Some day, hopefully, she will be at this threshold where I am and she too will, “Repeat these things again and again to her children. Talk about them when she ise at home and when she is on the road, when she is going to bed and when she is getting up.”
And, daughter of mine, I thank you again. The skill of your hands, the love and thoughtfulness of your heart are as dear to me as my life. Thank you for a gift that tells a present story and tangibly connects the generations.
Bible verse - Deuteronomy 6:7, New Living Translation
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