I went with two friends to the temple in Newport Beach last week. I really like to go by myself. I know that sounds selfish, but I love the time in my car by myself to think about things, and to contemplate and ponder. I love the quiet in the temple with just my own thoughts. But I have become somewhat of a hermit lately, and I suppose it is time to try to break out of that. I just knew that I really needed to go that day.
I sat by my friends before we left to go home. We whispered until a nice lady showed us somewhere where we would be more quiet:). We were still wearing white, and sitting on the benches in the dressing room. One of my friends was struggling with a difficult family situation. I watched her hands as she wiped away tears that were streaming down her face. I looked down at my own hands. I have never had beautiful hands, but there is something about the fluorescent lighting in the temple, that makes all of my scars from the past eighteen months show up, like white under a black light. My burns from last year look sort of purple. I see a deep scratch from last month along the back of my left hand. And there is my poor misshapen finger, with a knuckle red and shiny because the skin is pulled tight over it. No, definitely not beautiful hands.
And yet… here in this place I have just received the most amazing blessings to be found anywhere on this earth… they tell me I am strong enough to bear all the burdens, capable enough to finish all my tasks. My mind is clear, and my hands can do this.
I love hands.
I remember holding my dad’s enormous hands, with all their scars and cuts from being a glazier for forty years. His hands were huge and the strongest I have ever felt. Sometimes it is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I won’t ever get to hold his hand again in this life. I love my dad so much, and I miss him.
I remember my second date with Kevin some 27 years ago… we went to a play on BYU campus. We didn’t kiss that night, but the way he held my hand during that play was this total weak-in-the-knees, out-of-body experience, where I knew that I actually loved him, even though I had only known him for a single week (don’t worry… I didn’t actually tell him that for a couple more months… haha!).
I adore baby hands. Sixteen years ago, when Dillon was only a year old, he contracted RSV, and they put him in a crib in the hospital that was really more like a tall cage from the circus. They tented the crib with oxygen, and he had to stay in there so I couldn’t hold him. Of course he was sick, miserable and terrified. But I could put my hand through the rails of the cage and hold his hand, and as long as I did that, he didn’t cry... so I sat there all night long holding his little hands through the bars. I can still remember how his one-year-old hands felt, how tightly he held on, how he knew he had to be brave.
There is a sweet lady at church named Marjean. I think the first time I ever met her was when I played the organ for her husband’s funeral three or four years ago. I love Marjean, and I don’t know why, but she lights up whenever she sees me. She says, “Oh, Victoria, my favorite person in the world!” She gives me a huge hug, and then grabs my hand to pull me down to sit next to her, She has beautiful soft hands, and I love her like my own grandma.
Looking down at my scars in the lights of the temple, I don’t know why my hands seem to get hurt all the time lately, but it doesn’t change anything. I can still do what I need to do. I don’t know if anyone else even remembers those times, but I will never forget them, or the love and admiration that I feel for my friends and family. Hands are my favorite.