A Thanksgiving family tradition at our house is to make “Hands of Thanksgiving.” Between lunch and dessert, we each draw a hand from the pile and read to everyone. We often can guess who penned the words just by looking at the unique shape of their hand. I love watching the hands of the children grow and am strengthened in my current circumstances by God’s faithfulness in the past. I have thought about these hands this Thanksgiving because two significant hands will be missing. My mom’s hand and Worley’s dad’s hand.
My mom always said she had her dad’s hands. Patsy Nay’s hands did everything possible to love her husband and her children and grandchildren well. Her hands made a warm and loving home for her family and to show hospitality to others. With her hands, she changed lots of diapers, cooked meals, made thousands of lunches, helped with homework, taught crafts and games at VBS, sewed, fixed lots of hair, planted flowers, and created rock gardens. Her hands held God’s Word, Guideposts, or other things she read to instruct and encourage us. Professionally, her hands clicked away on the keyboard and wrote number after number on taxes as she cared for her clients. She held my dad’s hand for over 50 years and used her hands to play with her kids and grandkids. My mom’s hand could draw and be creative, and I will miss her handwritten notes she always left behind for us to find after Thanksgiving.
Worley’s dad’s hands were firm, strong hands that could fix most anything on which he set his mind. He was left-handed but was ambidextrous, so could do many things with his right hand. His hands helped provide for his family in numerous ways, but was most known for holding the judge’s gavel in court. His hands helped his kids with their projects, opened God’s word, managed finances, read lots of mail, made to-do lists, dug ditches, trimmed bushes, worked on cars, built houses, maintained church buildings, and in numerous ways served others. His hands served his country, and a handshake from Carl was as good as any signed document. His hand held Pat’s faithfully for 60 years of marriage. We are so thankful for Carl Kennedy’s example in life and death. We will miss his servant’s hands this Thanksgiving.
On my hand this year, I will be writing how thankful I am for the example set by George Nay and Pat Kennedy on how to grieve your spouse and keep this balanced with living and loving others. Our living parents are grieving deeply because they loved and were loved deeply. We are thankful for this example. It is a gift for them to share their thoughts and their grief with us. We are grateful for their life-giving example of turning toward God and not away from Him in their pain. If you spend time with either of them, it is evident they have spent time with their Savior and Lord. My Dad is always thinking about others and ways to share Christ or care for others. Two days after Carl entered Heaven, Pat was calling and checking on others. Their example teaches us and blesses us!!
As parents, we are ALWAYS teaching our children by how we live our own life. This does not change as we age. What are your hands showing your children and family members? What are you modeling in your suffering?
“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Psalm 70: 15