My Father’s Hands

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They say you should age gracefully

And I suppose that there really isn’t any other choice

It isn’t as if aging itself can be avoided

It is a humbling thing

Aging

My father’s hands which once soldered tiny circuit boards

Now shake too much for delicate tasks

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Simple tasks like bending over to retrieve a ball

Or getting up from a bench

Much harder now

Taking extra effort

Having to repeat something because he can’t quite hear it the first time

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I see him standing there

And while I know this daily process of aging bothers him

The inevitable losses

Some abrupt and some so subtle you don’t notice at first

His body often betraying him

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All I see is grace

The tenderness of heart that makes him cry

His loud laugh

So quick to give

Even to absolute strangers

The gentleness which allows him to take photos of birds

And put up with the antics of the squirrels

Who steal food from the bird feeders

His utter love for his grandchildren

The devotion he has for my mom

How much they rely on one another

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Despite some lifelong struggles

The hard things in his childhood I will not name

Growing up in Nebraska

His mother’s death when he was young

Raised by his grandparents

And loved by the godly couple who had adopted his mom

He joined the navy and married my mom

An officer’s daughter from Massachusetts

Her grandfather the mayor of Waltham

She married this enlisted sailor

Traveling the globe together

Scotland, Guam, and Okinawa

Doing well by his family

Becoming a chief in the navy

Raising three daughters

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They say you should age gracefully.

Perhaps this is only possible

By the good and perfect grace of God

Thankful for the grace I see

Reflected in him

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My father’s hands only shake a little

As he pours a glass of milk

To give to his grandson

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2 thoughts on “My Father’s Hands

  1. Joy, this is beautiful! I can relate so much to my brother. Though we did not grow up in the same house, we have much in common. Those godly grandparents that adoped Mom, took me in as an infant. I lived there till I was 7. I won’t go in to what my life was like after that. Like your dad, age is showing on me as well. You wrote so beautifully about your father and his heart and his love for his family. You are a real blessing to him. Thank you

    Like

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