Rhonda Cagle

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Handcrafted Life

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm

“There is a brief moment when all there is in a man’s mind and soul and spirit is reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record.” Yousuf Karsh

One’s hands tell a story. Every line, each wrinkle speaks of work and responsibility, rest and pleasure and all the moments that fall somewhere in between. Looking at a person’s hands, you catch glimpses of what life has thrown their way – what they’ve caught, what they’ve held. Sometimes, you even get a sense of what they’ve let slip through their fingers.

For several days now, I’ve had the privilege of holding my grandmother’s hand while death creeps in the shadows of the room. Soon, God will come and take Granner’s hand as He leads her into eternity and that place where there’s no more suffering or sickness – that place where death’s dark shadow is consumed by eternal light. If anyone deserves such a paradise, it’s my grandmother. But in the meantime I’ve treasured the moments I’ve had to hold her hand one last time while she’s still here on earth.

Granner's hands. What a lot of life she's touched in her 93 years.

Some of my earliest memories are of my Granner’s hands. As a one-year-old toddler, I would hold her hand as we walked down the hill from the parsonage where we lived to the church below. There, she would tend the roses that grew beside a little stone church made of Sedona’s famed red rocks. The church and the parsonage are long gone, demolished to make way for the touristy shops that now define Sedona. But those early memories of rugged red mountains and sweet smelling roses, all experienced in the safe, strong comfort of my Granner’s hands, still remain.

My sister and I spent several of our early years and countless summers living in Granner’s home. For us, her love was seen and felt in the kitchen. Being of southern stock, Granner’s fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and cherry pies were legendary. So are the memories of what came after. Standing at the sink, washing dishes, she would “sing the wondrous love of Jesus, sing His mercy and His grace.” Looking up at the copper bottoms of her pots and pans and at her strong hands dripping with dishwater, we learned “what a friend we have in Jesus.” We discovered that on the Rock of ages we are accepted, “just as I am, without one plea.” For me and my sister, our earliest experience of God’s love and mercy was listening to Granner sing as she washed dishes.

Holding Granner’s hands these past few days, I’ve thought a lot about the handmade life she’s created. Like the quilts pieced together and sewn by her hands – and her mother’s and grandmother’s before her – Granner’s life offers warmth and beauty. Year after year, memory after memory, she’s handcrafted a legacy of comfort and quiet faith that will be cherished long after she’s gone.

Granner with her beloved Ladybug.

For one last time, I was able to hold Granner’s hand. I lingered, my fingers tracing a bony memory for me to tuck away in my mind. Finally, I laid her hands back in her lap and said goodbye.

Since then, I’ve prayed the hands that now care for her in her final days and hours will be as capable and gentle as Granner’s were for me. I’m trusting that those who lay their hands on Granner will be an extension of God’s hands resting upon her, offering comfort and mercy. And I’m remembering the legacy of Granner’s handcrafted life, praying mine will reflect, in some small way, the beauty she leaves behind.

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