So…it was a day late in March. The family had all gathered for a nephew's wedding at the San Diego Temple. We were waiting for the stream of weddings to make room for our bride and groom to come out. There was sunshine, as we so frequently have in March in beautiful San Diego, so we were standing in the shade. Three brothers…Scott, Mark and Terry…were there together, when with my observant eye, I noticed how similar their hands looked…surprise, surprise! It dawned on me that here were three brothers, all with physically active, outdoor kind of jobs that had weathered, calloused hands. There was no question but what these men used their hands in their daily labor…no softness there, no manicured nails. If you were just to observe their hands you could assume that they were perhaps farmers, ranchers, ditch-diggers or mechanics. These were definitely manly hands. But even that doesn't tell the whole story. These are wonderful, kind men…fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, tender-hearted and with a gentle touch. They do honorable work and it is that work that makes them rough. There are more brothers, all with wonderful hands that look amazingly similar, but a less familiar eye might not be able to tell these three hands apart.
It was just a little over a year ago that Scott almost lost not only his hand, but his arm, maybe even his life…all because of a scrapped knuckle, quite similar to the one in the photograph. We were blessed in so many ways…that Scott was able to drive himself into the urgent care; that there was a doctor just finishing surgery, that stopped by the the ER and very quietly and calmly suggested that it might be better if he could get into that poor, swollen hand and see what those red streaks going up his arm meant. (I knew what they were – Scott was denying that they were anything more than marks from where he was resting his arm on his shirt:) That he got top notch care from a staff at the hospital that was so attentive to his needs. Even that he was able to dress his own wound when I was too afraid that I was being too rough on the wide-open incision – no stitches involved, it would heal from the inside out. The amazing thing is that the scar that the doctor said would need skin grafts is barely noticeable, just a year after. It was hands that were instrumental in the healing process…two pairs of those brothers hands were laid on Scott's head and a blessing given. It is amazing the power that can be felt through hands that hold the priesthood.
So now, when I hold Scott's hands and feel his callouses, I am grateful for every rough inch of those hands. I will scold him if I don't think that he cleans his wounds well enough – he's quite a tough guy, but I remind him that we don't need a repeat of last year's hospital experience. Those hands work hard for his family, they work hard to fulfill his responsibilities – but those hands are kind and gentle, and the sincerity in those hands negate what the world may think of as inconsequential. These are manly hands…my man's hands.