It’s easy to forget what others are going through when we are annoyed or frustrated. Focusing on our own feelings can cause us to get anxious and sometimes lash out in ways that we wouldn’t normally act. We’ve all been in a situation where we can easily name about a hundred other things that we’d rather be doing…but keeping it in perspective can be hard. One daughter was out shopping with her mother, but was having a hard time keeping a good attitude. Until she remembered something powerful.
A few years ago, when my mother was visiting, she asked me to go shopping with her because she needed a new dress. I don’t normally like to go shopping with other people, and I’m not a patient person, but we set off for the mall together nonetheless.
We visited nearly every store that carried ladies’ dresses, and my mother tried on dress after dress, rejecting them all. As the day wore on, I grew weary and my mother grew frustrated.
Finally, at our last stop, my mother tried on a lovely blue three-piece dress. The blouse had a bow at the neckline, and as I stood in the dressing room with her, I watched as she tried, with much difficulty, to tie the bow. Her hands were so badly crippled from arthritis that she couldn’t do it. Immediately, my impatience gave way to an overwhelming wave of compassion for her. I turned away to try and hide the tears that welled up involuntarily. Regaining my composure, I turned back to tie the bow for her. The dress was beautiful, and she bought it. Our shopping trip was over, but the event was etched indelibly in my memory.
For the rest of the day, my mind kept returning to that moment in the dressing room and to the vision of my mother’s hands trying to tie that bow. Those loving hands that had fed me, bathed me, dressed me, caressed and comforted me, and, most of all, prayed for me, were now touching me in the most remarkable manner.
Later in the evening, I went to my mother’s room, took her hands in mine, kissed them and, much to her surprise, told her that to me they were the most beautiful hands in the world.
I’m so grateful that God let me see with new eyes what a precious, priceless gift a loving, self-sacrificing mother is. I can only pray that some day my hands, and my heart, will have earned such a beauty of their own.
All it took was the simple reminder that her mother raised her with those very hands to calm back down. How many nights did she keep her mother up as a child? How many dishes did she dirty or clothes did she tear that needed to be sewn back together? Those hands had done hundreds of thousands of loving tasks for her child…the least she could do was be there for those hands when they stopped working so well.