Monday, July 19, 2010

Soft Hands, Warm Heart

I was walking out of the grocery store toward my car and noticed an elderly gentleman walking toward me headed into the store. I say elderly because he was probably in his 80's but, he certainly didn't act elderly. He walked unassisted with a bit of a lively sprint in his gait. He wore a baseball cap on his head proudly sporting some military insignia USS... but he was walking so fast (remember?) I didn't get a chance to focus and read it. As he was about to pass me something dropped from his pocket. It was a small package of Kleenex. I said "Whoops, wait" as I hastened to pick it up. He turned back and I placed the package in his hand. As my hand touched his I noticed how soft it was, yet strong. It reminded me of my father's hand. My dad passed away last year leaving behind a lifetime of wonderful memories. In his last years I loved to visit him at his assisted living residence and sit on the porch with him shooting the breeze. Occasionally another resident or an employee would join us in conversation. I usually held his frail soft hand in mine. He would squeeze it every so often, a silent way of letting me know he was glad I was there.

As I smiled and bid the gentleman in the parking lot a good day, I started to cry a little bit as I thought of my dad. The gentleman couldn't see my tears under my dark sunglasses, just my smile and he cheerfully thanked me and strode off into the store.

In yoga class I frequently touch members to encourage them to go deeper into a pose or to let them know I am near and might be giving them further assistance. In the winter I try to rub my hands together first to warm them up before I touch them so I don't shock them. I hope my touch is soft and gentle and encouraging.

I can still feel his hand in mine.