Just Holding Hands
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
I watched as my parents, both in their upper 80s, held hands. Both have hands spotted with age and the heritage of people whose skin easily freckles. The opacity of their skin has worn thin and vessels that take blood to and from the heart bulge over boney structures. My dad’s left hand sports a large ganglion cyst and my mother’s hands have freshly painted fingernails – a post-covid treat carried out with new protocols. Her neatly manicured nails reflect a relationship with the woman who lovingly cares for her hands through latex covered fingers.
We had gathered for a conversation with mom and dad. The time has come to leave their condo and many possessions. This is a conversation that had become more frequent but not easier.
This time my mother said, looking about at her things packed with images of sweet memories, “I am grateful. I am so very grateful for everyday that I can sit here and hold your father’s hand. There is nothing in my life more important than being able to sit here with your father. The most important thing right now is being together. We are ready to go to a place where more care is available to us.” Beyond my own relief about their willingness to move, I was struck with the pure gratitude my mother expressed. This is a gratitude borne of their deep, steadfast faith. The image of their hands clasped together brings to mind these words from James, “perfect, complete, lacking in nothing.”
My prayer for each of us is that our relationships, steeped in the faith, produce steadfastness that offers us a sense of peace and completeness.
Prayer: Gracious God, help us to put our faith in you that it might be reflected in the love we share for one another. Help us to remember those who are in times of transition that they might find their comfort first in you. Amen.