MS: A Woman’s Hands

Not that long ago, a woman I know suddenly commented on how small my hands and fingers are. She told me that every time I spoke she was mesmerized by their delicacy. She then commented on her own hands and how she had “Farmer’s hands” with large knuckles and rough edges. Of course, I know my hands well and am very aware of how worn my skin is and how strong my grip is. My hands are only delicate in appearance.

A  recent visit to a jeweler to look for wedding bands, naturally brought up the topic of my tiny fingers a second (and third) time. The jeweler’s wife saw my hands and knew in an instant that they wouldn’t have any rings that fit me. I told her that the size for my ring finger was a 3.25 to which she (playfully) responded with “That’s disgusting”. After that she showed me a ring that she personally liked, but knew did not fit her. Because as an older woman, her knuckles had gotten wide and she no longer had any hope of wearing the lovely piece. I was touched by her kindness in showing me a personal favorite of hers. After the jeweler resized it to a 3.5 and we found it was still too large, he commented that such small fingers were highly unusual. They gave me the piece he had to remove, so that when my fingers do finally widen I can get it resized larger.

All this reminded me of a quote in a book I read as a child about a female character I deeply admire.

“She made and kept a little heaven in that poor cottage on the high hillside – for her husband and son to home to out of the low and rather dreary earth in which they worked…True, her hands were hard and chapped and large, but it was with work for them; and therefore, in the sight of angels, her hands were so much more beautiful.”

The book is the Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. The character in question is Joan Peterson, she doesn’t appear much in this book, playing only a small part. However, the quote struck me and made me remember her many years later. So, what I would say to any woman whose hands are no longer soft and delicate. If your hands are large, achy, and maybe even a little rough due to many years of work serving your family, then you have nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud of. Caring for your family is a worthy, beautiful thing. More beautiful than delicate hands.


P.S. This young lady would appreciate it if those who know how to cook better than she does would send her your chili recipes! NSR really, really misses his chili and I need to rectify that. Please send them to


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