These hands have held newborns and have helped carry caskets from the hearse to the grave.
These hands have cradled open books for pleasure and instruction.
These hands have, in compassionate acts of destruction, held pistols and shotguns, aligned the barrels with the backs of the heads of injured animals, and delivered the coup de grace.
These hands have spent uncounted thousands of hours upon the steering wheels of tractors, tilling the soil so that my father could follow and plant the new year's crops.
These hands have struggled with pencil or keyboard, trying to shape the perfect word, the perfect phrase, so that there was no place for ambiguity in what I had to say.
These hands have cleaned and dressed wounds.
These hands have placed rings upon the fingers of three women, in ceremonies ending in "I do".
These hands have signed two divorce decrees, saying "I don't, not anymore."
These hands have caressed lovers and rebuked children.
These hands are the instruments of my will, the tools I use to effect my small changes upon the world.
These hands are part of the long chain of humanity, past, present, and future. Everything they do has been and will be done again.
These hands are uniquely mine. Everything they do is done by me.