The other day my husband and I were sitting around a table with several other couples while we chatted. As we were talking I looked down at the table where my husbands hands were folded. I noticed like any other person that his hands were worn and cracked, a few of his fingers deformed by major injury. The areas around his nails and some of the knuckles were stained black. His hands were thickly roped with veins and were those of a "working" man. No amount of scrubbing could remove the stains on his fingers. They were a badge of his job. The automotive mechanic. I know from comments from less polite people that most would consider his hands ugly or indicate a man who is a blue collar Joe.
I glanced around the table at the other men's hands and not one looked like my husbands. They were clean and white. With well shaped and manicured nails. They showed no wear and no scars.
And yet looking back at my husbands I realized how very beautiful they were. Every scar and swollen joint. Even the staining from the oil he had to work in every day reminded me how hard he worked to bring home his paycheck. His hands are a testament to the integrity he had in going to a job every day to support his large family. I remembered how he had shattered his thumb and broke the bone off, but still went back to work in enormous pain. How he has endured burns, cuts, aches and pains, loud dangerous and uncomfortable work just to provide for us.
Then I thought of all the other things those hands have done. They have rocked babies to sleep, hugged and comforted distraught little girls and boys (and even the occasional wife) chopped wood to keep us warm, built and repaired things for our home, changed diapers, rubbed the sore feet of a women heavy with child, shoveled manure, tilled gardens, tickled children until they shrieked with glee, and accepted the trials and hardships of this world without complaint.
They are not pretty or glamorous, they have to scrape out a living through sheer force of will. Life has never been easy for those hands. And yet what would we do without them? All that stands between us and a very cold world are the strength of my husbands hands.
A few times he has mentioned being ashamed that his hands never look clean or perfect. He thinks his fingers are ugly with their scars. But now I want to kiss them again and again and tell him to never be ashamed of hands that have brought so much protection and blessings to his family. They are the hands of a FATHER!