Posted in Aging, Life

Words for Wednesday: with these hands

Since observing a recent birthday – notice I did not say celebrating a birthday because as you get older, the day just isn’t as exciting as it was when you were a youngster.

So after passing certain decades of living, I don’t find myself celebrating the day of my birth. But I do observe it and give thanks for another year of life.

As a senior citizen, my mind is a bit boggled at how quickly I’ve arrived at that status. I mean, really, just the other day wasn’t I racing around chasing after three children, juggling chores at home and lots of volunteer opportunities, and even working part-time?

Wasn’t it not so long ago that my calendar was filled with my children’s school, sports, and social activities instead of reminders to accomplish tasks I tend to forget?

Let’s face facts. Even though my mind stills thinks I’m young, my body signals me all too well that I’m not. A prime example of this is when I glanced at my hands one day while I was reading (a real book, not an e-reader) and thought, “Whose hands ARE these?”

And that set my mind to contemplating these hands that don’t look like they used to.

Hands. Do we really consider those appendages? How we’ve used them? What they’ve done? How they’ve helped or hurt others?

We can use our hands to accomplish beneficial and compassionate actions in the world or we can utilize them for negative, downright wicked deeds as well.

“What the hand does the mind remembers.” ~ Maria Montessori

We may bite the hand that feeds us, gain the upper hand, force someone’s hand, be underhanded, act with a heavy hand, or have blood on our hands.

Or we may give a hand, lend a hand, take someone by the hand, or hand it to someone to give them a compliment.

We might know something firsthand or like the back of one’s hand. Perhaps we’re even an old hand at something.

But sometimes, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, and we throw our hands up in frustration or even defeat with a hands-off attitude.

If we have our hands full, maybe it’s because we are too hands-on. Perhaps we played into someone’s hands or just simply got our own hands dirty.

On the other hand, it’s possible to overplay your hand, allow situations to get out of hand, and end up washing our hands of it all.

To win hands down, it’s better if one hand washes the other, and we call for all hands on deck.  That way, we all feel like we’re in good or safe hands.

We can hand something down, hand something in, hand something off, hand something on, hand something out, or hand something over.

Whatever the case, our hands are on hand, available to us to use them wisely or not. I’m reminded of an old adage that says, “The devil makes work for idle hands.” What goes hand in hand with that is when we aren’t busy using our hands for good, we are easily tempted to do wrong.

That saying may have come from a verse, Proverbs 16:27, in the Living Bible: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.”

And that reminds me of something I want to always keep on hand – God’s Word. If I line up my hands with His Word, I can’t go wrong.

Martin Luther, the famous German theologian who initiated the Protestant Reformation, once wrote: “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”

That sounds like excellent advice to me. Place everything in God’s hands instead of my own. I need to remember that every time I look at these aging hands.

“The hand expresses what the heart already knows.” ~ Samuel Mockbee

© 2021

Posted in Aging, Life

True confessions

I confess. I’ve been involved in a love affair for years – with shoes, that is.

Take me to a department store and, unless I have something particular to purchase, I will first make a beeline for the shoe department.  I won’t necessarily buy a pair, but I will definitely look over shoes on displays and especially those situated on sale racks.

I’ve been enamored with shoes for as long as I can remember. Maybe it’s in my DNA, a gene inherited from my mother, who was also a shoe lover. You couldn’t categorize either one of us as an Imelda Marcos (you young’uns will probably have to google that), but my Mom and I had more shoes than we probably needed.

When I was a youngster, it was exciting to go to the shoe store – an actual store that only sold shoes and boots in the downtown area of my hometown. A shoe salesperson greeted my mother and me and actually measured my foot, then brought out various pairs of shoes in my size for me to try on.

I then sashayed down a carpeted aisle to see how they felt, gazed in a tilted floor mirror to see how they looked, and if my mom liked them on my feet too and there was room to grow, I had a brand new pair of shoes! I always begged my mother to wear them home too. I couldn’t wait to wear my new shoes to school or church or even outside to play, unless it was summer because I ran around barefoot then.

Shoes just made me happy and they still do.

Now, it’s time to confess something else. I am short. I won’t divulge my height but let’s suffice it to say that I am several inches shorter than Papa and our three children, now grown into adults, are all taller than I am. One of them, who I won’t mention by name but is as tall as Papa, used to proclaim I was “vertically challenged.” Uh-huh.

Anyway, since I always longed to be taller, in my young adulthood I always purchased very high heels or platform shoes. I realize I’m dating myself but platform shoes were the rage in the 70’s and my husband still tells stories about how I used to “fall off” my platform shoes when we dated and how he rescued me by steadying me.

Up until my 50’s, my closet was full of high-heeled shoes because they made me not only appear taller but made me feel taller. But something happened along the way of life (aka getting older).

Lower heeled shoes began replacing those stilettoes. Then flats made their way into my closet at a continuous pace. And even more alarming, sneakers commenced nudging out any shoes with an assemblance of a heel.

Comfort over appearance won out. Acceptance at being vertically challenged trumped gaining a couple of inches via my shoes.

Shoes that pinched my toes – gone. Shoes that made my hip and lower back ache when I wore them – gone. Shoes that were difficult to walk in – gone. Shoes that felt just plainly uncomfortable – gone.

Where once fashionable, attractive shoes in various colors and styles reigned in my closet, flats now reside.  Next to them, multiple pairs of athletic sneakers occupy the remaining space.

Sneakers… more than one pair of them! Another confession: sneakers are my go-to shoe for almost every day except Sunday.

Now cushy, comfortable, supportive sneakers adorn my feet, not just during my everyday walk but when I go shopping, when I go on vacation, when I go to a restaurant (unless it’s a dressy kind of place, then the flats appear), just about everywhere I roam except Sunday worship at church.

Who ‘woulda thunk’ it? Sneakers being my preferred shoe. They certainly are not chic and classy, not fashionable or flashy, nor do they make me much taller, although that thick sole might add a fraction of an inch.

Seeing just how many pairs of New Balance, Asics, Adidas, and Nikes are lined up in my closet made me realize this: you know you’re getting old mature when sneakers predominate your shoe collection.

I still peruse the shoe department and marvel at the shoes for sale. But unless they are cute flats or have cushy insides and look like they could support me in a marathon (like that would happen?! Ha!), I look but I don’t succumb.   Just looking manages to satisfy my shoe loving side.

I guess you can take wearing stylish shoes out of the girl, but you can’t take a love for those shoes out of the girl.

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

© 2021