My father's hands have grown old. His knuckles protrude like marbles still waiting to play a game. His veins are the road maps of many life-long decisions. I watch him move his hands to the coffee cup in a shake and rattle kind of way. He manages to grip the cup with his pursed, wrinkled lips. Some coffee welcomes the embrace, but most of the beverage just dribbles down his chin and onto the carpet stained by this daily ritual.
My father always kept rituals. He said it is what kept him alive. The dripping coffee did not matter to him, nor did the brown-stained carpet. He only cared about the prayer. Those worn hands that waged the war of life would move towards the heart and at the heart is where he would clasp them tightly like two old friends hugging after a lifetime of distance. He would cry out between the enfolded hands to thank the Lord for being that long lost friend. Cloaked in quivering waves of reverence, he begged God to forgive him for the mortal choices and the roads of destruction that fueled his disappointments and heartaches. However weary and in pain, graciously he prayed as tears shot from his eyes like the bullets he had felt from the days of war. Every morning, the light would not welcome the day without my father's prayer. It was his hope and his final place to rest.
Heavenly Father, Your hand held in mine is my comfort and my strength. Through prayer and the power of Your touch we do not have to suffer alone.
© 2014 Kimberly Clayton