Monday, March 15, 2010


Yesterday as I worked with my older adults one of them reached out to me with her hands,crippled from arthritis. She asked if there was an exercise that would straighten her fingers again. I held her hands in mine and told her that I didn't know of any that would help. I was reminded of my mother-in-law from years ago. She often referred to her deformed arthritic hands. Yet those same hands had cared for four children, prepared countless meals, washed even more laundry, decorated Christmas trees, wrapped gifts and made birthday cakes for so many years. Even in her last years with arthritic hands, she learned counted cross stitch and made beautiful pieces for all of the children and grandchildren. We have several of her pieces in our home including a beautiful angel that must have taken a hundred hours to complete.

Gettting older is not always very pretty. The lines on the face grow a little deeper, skin loses it's elasticity and begins to sag, bone density can suffer and posture can take a turn for the worse. Yet some of the most beautiful people I know have crippled, arthritic hands. Exercise can't really do much for any of those conditions. It can strengthen the muscles, increase flexibility and help the heart beat a little stronger and a little longer. It cannot, however, make the heart more compassionate or the touch of a hand more sensitive. That comes from within and that is beautiful.