Holding On

©  Jeanne E Webster

My hands—they have held so many things,

some so trivial,

some so wondrous,

some so ordinary,

some so precious. 

Perhaps you’ll hold my hand while my heart peers into the ne’er-forgotten, dusty shadows of long ago.

As a baby and toddler, I held:

My parent’s strong rough fingers____ my teeny pink toes and feet____ my wee nose and ears____ strands of my dark brown hair____ a shiny pink rattle____ a snuggly warm blanket____ a glass baby bottle of warm milk____ floating specks of dust in the bright sunlight ____ a piece of zwieback toast____ a dripping ice cream cone____ the comforting hem of my grandmother’s apron____ a piece of milk-drenched buttered toast____ furniture legs as I learned to stand up and walk.

As a grade-schooler, I held:

A tattered school book____ a fountain pen and crayons____ a piece of white chalk____ a plain piece of paper____ the hands of my brother and sister____ a bicycle handle bar____ a bright blue ball____ brand-new sweet-smelling puppies and kittens____ a fork and spoon____ a greasy fried chicken leg____ a soft bushy, green caterpillar____ a dry tawny grasshopper____ a struggling, slimy night crawler____ a peeping baby sparrow____ a fluffy, white chicken feather____ a shiny green hoppy toad____ a bar of ivory soap____ a big multicolored soap bubble____ the handle of a wagon my dad made____ small gentle rain drops____ a delicate soft snowflake____ a bright red maple leaf ____ a chalky gray moth____ a glowing monarch butterfly____ a tiny, busy ladybug____ a glass of cold homemade lemonade____ a dribbling orange Popsicle____ a soft snuggly brown teddy bear____ a small stone to throw at an antagonist____ a glass of ice-cold milk____ a glass bottle of cream soda____ a kite string____ a chirping coal-black cricket____ a spindly daddy-long-legs____ a magical four-leaf clover____ a white rabbit’s foot____ a wide blade of grass for a whistle____ a Hershey’s chocolate bar____ a cold, wet snowball____ a small magnet covered with iron dredged from a sand pile____ a sharp, pointed icicle____ a juicy slice of watermelon.

As a teenager, I held:

Records of popular music____ abused used school text books____ a tiny well-worn crucifix____ the dead body of my green parakeet____ an old acoustic guitar____ a heavy black telephone____ old shoes____ new shoes____ the reins while riding a frisky brown horse____ school report cards____ sheets of music____ a French horn____ fresh-caught bluegills and crappies____ an old Indian arrowhead____ a five-dollar bill____ a hammer and nails____ an old hymn book____ a dried, disgusting, dead mouse on a trap____ a real Angora sweater____ a wonderful-smelling leather jacket____ a letter from my grandmother____ my grandmother’s gold beads____ a paper plate of baked beans and hot dogs____ a wide cheesy slice of  hot pizza____ iced-cold water falling from a waterfall____ the local newspaper____ a deck of poker cards____ a piece of  paper inscribed with my first poem ____ an orange basketball____ a sleek firm football____ a mushy white volleyball____ a dirty scuffed up softball____ a freshly picked McIntosh apple____ a melodious new harmonica____a box of “good-n-plenty’s”_____ a box of hot buttered popcorn right out of the machine____ a bowl of fresh snow with a frozen maple syrup topping____ a chilled glass of white wine____ a model airplane.

As a young adult, I held:

My sick dog’s head as she was put to sleep____assorted flower seeds____ dusty soil as the wind blew it away____ my first driver’s license____ pictures of my ancestors____ my first checkbook____ a jar of sweet apricot jam____ the hand of my first love and future husband____ my gold wedding band____ each of my beautiful newborn babies____ diapers____ each precious face to my breast to nurse____ the hands of each child as they learned to walk____ decorated brightly colored birthday cakes____ a home-made hot-air balloon____ a freshly roasted chicken____ the face of my tired husband____ a sock with a hole in it____ a red rose petal____ my children’s report cards____ pictures my children drew at school____ a loaf of home-made bread, hot & brown ____ a plate of home-made fudge____ an apple pie topped with ice cream and cheddar cheese____ lots of dirty laundry____ lots of sweet-smelling clean clothes____ school pictures of my children____ the hands of my children as they prayed____ my husband’s arms as he left for Viet Nam____  divorce papers___ the loss of my whole world.

As an older adult, I held:

Medical books to study____ a syringe as I give an injection to a patient____ vial of blood I’ve drawn from a patient____ a single red rose____ a new marriage license____ a walker to assist a struggling patient ____ a thermometer____ a cup of good hot strong coffee____ flowers to put on my grandmother’s grave____ the deed to my first house____ the title to my first car____ the tassel from my youngest daughter’s high school graduation____ the deed to my cemetery lot in Massachusetts____ a tiny, sweet Yorkshire puppy____ an obituary card____ pictures of family and friends____ the hand of my dying mother____ the hand of my father praying____ portrait of my mother painted by my brother____ the hand of my dying husband in the hospital emergency room____ the bag of my dead husband’s clothes as I leave the hospital____ the hands of many kind people offering condolences____ flowers to put on his grave____ a flag to put on his grave____ the hand of an elderly lady in a nursing home____ lots of bills____a computer and printer____ a copy of my first published article in Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine____ a German Shepherd puppy____ a letter of acceptance from a publisher____ revisions and revisions of my first book____ monthly family newsletters____ monthly newsletters for widows____ my prayer shawl____ last but not least___ my Bible.

What will these hands hold in the future?  Each day I leave that with God.  He holds all my tomorrows, and when time shall be no more, there will only be “forever.”  As I enter eternity, my entire being will behold the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  And I shall be at peace…at last. 

What have you held in your hands, dear friend?

20 comments on “Holding On

  1. camary1996 says:

    Genius Jeanne!!

  2. […] thanks to Jeanne Webster at Women’s Window for her post Holding On; for the idea to create my own list of things my hands have held onto over the […]

  3. I read slowly the bits and pieces of your life; a beautiful tribute to each moment.

  4. Susan Michaels says:

    Truly astounding and touching! Blessings, Susan

  5. ddkaarre says:

    What we hold in our hands we also often hold in our hearts…so amazing and so beautiful. Thanks for your insight into this…I looked at my dad’s hands once as he was skinning a deer and wondered about all the things his hands had done in his lifetime…he was in his forties then..now he is almost 80…and so many more beautiful things his hands have done….and seen and experienced. The most telling hands depicted in art are the praying hands by Durer. And the story that goes along with them is awesome..! Do you know it?

    • Wonderful memories, Marty. Yes, I heard the story about the hands, but have forgotten; it’s been too long ago. Feel like sharing with us? 🙂

      • ddkaarre says:

        Durer and his friend were both artists…they could not both afford to be artists at the same time so the friend agreed to work manual labor until Durer became famous enough as an artist to support both himself and his friend. Then Durer would work and the friend would pursue his art passion. By the time Durer could support them with his art…the man’s hands were so crippled he could not do his art. As a lasting tribute to his friend’s sacrificial servant hands he drew them in prayer. It is the most well known ‘praying hands’ image we have…love that story!

      • Yes! Devotion and love. Precious. 🙂

        Thanks.

  6. Dicky says:

    I have held in my hands the promises of God.

  7. Wow! This is great! I just may have to find the time to sit down and come up with my own list. Thanks for sharing these bits of your life.

  8. terri0729 says:

    Lovely Jeanne!!! truly 🙂 Shalom, Terri

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