When you touch another person, a stranger, you have no idea who you are touching or what they have achieved in life. I love being surprised by people and yesterday it was just that.
I was at a health fair to do massage and whilst we watched an event on stage a man asked if he could take a seat at my stand as he was tired. Picture an old, very tall, elegant man in a cream suit, a smart shirt and tie. He walked with a stick and had hands that were knarled and misshapen. His hands were dry, the skin was tight. I bent and gently whispered to him and asked if he’d like his hands massaged whilst he sat and rested.
I sat at his feet as he offered me his right hand. I massaged his wrist, his hand and moved to his fingers. We chatted and I asked about his life. He happily shared his travels and we discussed things he could do to look after his hands. We moved on and his other hand was taken in mine. Long elegant fingers. Dark skin that seemed to tell stories. Beautiful manicured nails, long and well looked after.
This man fascinated me for some reason. His tone, his gentle manner, his hands that were beginning to tell me stories. Slowly, minute by minute he allowed me to unravel his thoughts and past life.
As I reached the end and held his large, soft, gentle hand in mine he told me that although he had general aches and pains, he wasn’t doing bad for a man of 81. And then it came…. The acknowledgment that his hands had always been important. He seemed wistful, thankful for the past strength in his now misshapen hands, grateful for the work they did, how they worked hard as a heart surgeon.
I was totally in awe. This old man, who many would pass by, elegant, well dressed and with knarled hands was a life saver, a life giver, an expert in his field, skilled and humble about the work he had performed. Because of his matter of fact language, he could have just told me he’d been to the supermarket that morning. Humbling.
To have massaged those beautiful, expert, strong but life saving hands was a total honour and I felt blessed to have held the hands that once gave life back to so many. These hands told stories. These hands we’re a history book. These hands had been so important to so many and now I could hold them between mine and I was humbled. Never underestimate those you meet, especially the elderly. They may have had lives you would never dream of.
Respect to the man in the cream suit.