As if it was My Last

My hands hurt.

I was a freshman in high school when I took my first typing class. I had always been fascinated with typing.

But two weeks into the semester, I broke my left wrist, roller skating. I wasn’t quite sure what the teacher was going to do with me.

Can you believe she pulled out a, Typing for Right Hand, book? I was amazed. I loved it too. Even with one hand I did my best to be finished with my assignments before the rest of my class.

My hands hurt.

One of my very first jobs I’ve ever had was a cashier in a grocery store. So I have to tell you, back in the day, I was pretty quick. Which was good because our managers pushed us to be quicker, faster, more efficient.

It’s what got me through my shift. It was even better when Corina was working because we both had to be the fastest.

Management kept track of your speed too; daily and weekly.

Besides the two of us, I don’t know if any one took their speed as serious.

I remember the first time I had signs of carpal tunnel. I wore a brace on one hand, and wasn’t able to use it. They still stuck me on the Express line and after my shift one night, one of the managers pulled me aside and told me I got a complaint.

A customer wanted to know why a cashier with one hand was put on a register that took such a high volume of customers and was expected to go quickly?

The manager told the customer to turn around and watch me. “She rings up more people and items with one hand than any of my other cashiers do with two.”

My hands hurt.

While working as a cashier, I put myself through school. I started off as a Communication major, but after one semester of classes, at ASU West, I quickly discovered how much I hated it.

All my life, in spite of my passion to learn, school was always a struggle for me. I studied like a straight A student, and despite my Honor Roll status, never once made that dream come true.

But ASL was easy. For the first time in my life, school was simple. I just had to learn a sign once, and never would I forget it. I never had homework, or had to study. I got As on all my tests.

ASL 101 was just suppose to be a break from my “real” education. But I loved it! Imagine my surprise when I found out I could make a career out of it.

It was during my maternity leave with my first son, that I discovered two months in, my hands had started to swell, stiffen and were painful. It wasn’t until I went back to interpreting, that I realized arthritis had settled in.

Oh, how my hands hurt.

I’ve been hard on them my whole life. And they’ve been so good to me, even with all the neglect and abuse I’ve put them through.

And it is now that I’m so upset with myself and so in awe of God.

I want to serve. I want to become the hands and feet of Jesus, just like those who have come before me. I want to breathe light into someone’s darkness. I want to share hope to the hopeless.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

I look at my hands, a gift God has given me. They were given to me with a purpose. They were given me with design. And it saddens me that I’m sure their purpose was not to push myself to be better, or faster, but to aid and to help… and my hands hurt.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: – 1 Peter 4:10

So I push myself everyday. Maybe to make up for all the missed opportunities to care. All the missed opportunities to love. Everyday I use them as if it is my last day on earth, as if it is my last day to serve.

Because what if it is? What if tomorrow I meet my God and he asks me what I did with the gift he gave me?

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31

All of this, none of this, means anything unless they are working for the Lord.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. – James 2:14-17

So Lord, I lift my hands, my throbbing, aching hands and ask for one more day. Just give me one more day to use them as you have designed them. Let one more person know your grace, find your hope, see your love, through my hands.

In your Son’s holy name. Amen

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