Hold My Hand
Picture of Janet


Hold My Hand

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I watched fine sand grains fall away as I took a step onto the bank of Cypress Creek. This suburban, soggy, watershed has been a favorite haunt of mine since we moved into this side of town. I have brought my boys down here when torrential hurricane winds subsided enough, to impress them of how powerful and deceptive fast moving flood water can be. I aimed to teach them about the danger the way my Dad had taught me. I remember one spectacular time, when not waiting for the rain to stop, my boys and me, we ventured down, their grandmother in tow, to see how high the creek had risen. Hair plastered to our heads, laughing and testing, three sons and three generations, skipped along wooded paths and puddles, my mother’s grandsons lovingly taking her hand, each as they saw fit, as they eased her past whatever obstacles lay ahead.

I have come here when all I thought I could stand was a place where I could see the sky, to cry a bit, and ask God for comfort and be certain that few people would ever see the tears or know the thoughts I shed as I prayed my heart to Heaven. But today I have come here, seeking refuge and to welcome fall as well. I recognize the signs of nature hunkering down as the earth tilts just enough on her axis to shorten the days and weaken the sun’s rays for those of us here in the northern hemisphere. The Chinese tallow is showing off a bit, her heart shaped leaves crimson and gold with bright, white berries, three to a stem, each growing fat and round in the waning sun. They will make a million more pesky upstart seedlings, rampant and pervasive in their intrusion on Houston flora, they are beautiful for the moment. We learn, take the good with the bad. 

I have gotten old. For as the coming of fall used to seem sad to me, now, there is something peaceful in watching, knowing that the cycle of winter will bring quiet and rest. 

When I take a second step and see that creek-river sand fall away from my footstep, the image of another time rests gently on my mind.  I remember climbing this bank with Bob. We were exploring, looking for deer and coyotes, spending some time together during the years of teen sons, and moving on ahead of me, he scaled the bank easily. I struggled a bit, my ever present flip-flops a hindrance, and as I sought a toehold in the bank, he turned and offered me a hand. I had leaned closely into the bank, hoping for better traction and better balance, but with the posture and the sun beating down just right, the image that is mine forever, is that of Bob’s hand caught in relief against the bank. I was so close to both I could see the lines of his hand as clearly as I could the grains of sand near my foot. Bob’s hands are strong with square, healthy nails, and as far back as I can remember holding them, they have been warm. It’s his hand, palm open, ready to take mine that I remember; to help me get where I needed to go. 

Gathering my dogs in, we head back and for the next few moments I don’t think about the woods where I have come to rest. It’s a lesson that God is teaching me. Just a few days ago, I visited a friend. He is sick, sicker than I want to think and I knew when I visited him in his hospital room he was in no shape to entertain visitors. I fidgeted a bit wondering what to do or say and wishing I could somehow take away the hardship of sickness, for him and his family. I said, “Don’t talk, I am going to just sit here and I will talk to our Father for a bit.” “Okay,” he said, and only a few seconds later, eyes closed in a union of souls that’s a bit beyond hospital beds, he said, “Hold my hand.” I did. I tried to make his forearm comfortable and I thought about this man, the grandchildren he has held and patted, the wife he holds dear and his own children who know the touch of this hand and his tender heart and whose hand I now held. I thought about a strength and power beyond our understanding.

Now, don’t be sad when I tell you this, but this made me think of the last time I held Jake’s hand.  I was bound to do that, you know; think about that time and talk about it a little. He was already in Heaven, but that didn’t matter. Because, you see, although I would give almost anything to hold his hand again in this here and now, I can recall a thousand times I held that man’s hand all through his life and times he held mine. The very fine thing is, I don’t remember a single time I wished I had held his hand and didn’t. I could spend time a lot of time wishing I had more chances, but the better plan is to make sure I don’t miss any of the times I am to hold hands now. Or to ask someone to hold mine. Or to count on holding Jake’s hand and all those I love, once again and forever, in Heaven.

Happy Monday. Hope you have the occasion and take hold of a hand this week.

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