Use Your Hands to Touch a Heart


The laundry door cracked open.

I could see her inside the room, tenderly folding each piece of clothing more gingerly than I fold my own family’s clothes. When she had put them all in the basket, she tiptoed out of the room, not disturbing the concert in progress in the activity room.

It’s a high touch position.
No need to apply if you’re afraid to get close.

I was only there as a spectator. My daughter was singing with her grandfather’s Butterbean Band at this assisted living facility. It housed a family friend so we had double reasons to attend this day’s performance.

I can’t help but watch the workers when I visit homes for the elderly like this.  

It may be the patients and family who pay the money, but it’s the everyday-worker who keeps things humming.  

  • It’s the young nurse who makes rounds with her little cups of pills specific to each resident.
  • It’s the aide who pushes the elderly gentleman’s wheelchair into line so he can listen to the band with the gathering crowd.
  • It’s the activity director who breezes in and out to joke with the residents, distributing hugs, and ensuring everyone is having fun.

And it’s the girl who goes into each room to empty individual hampers, then washes, dries and separates each article of clothing, tiptoeing back into rooms to return each piece to the right drawer and closet where it belongs.

You can’t hold down these jobs without using your hands—to move, to work, to love.

Without the human touch, it’d be an empty place.

To touch hearts, sometimes you have to use your hands.

* * *

How can you use your hands this week to touch a heart? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives

17 thoughts on “Use Your Hands to Touch a Heart

  1. Bill (cycleguy)

    Hi Lisa! It is so essential we give “hands” to what our words are saying. People who work in assisted-living or nursing homes are often unsung heroes. They need a shout out. So…here’s a shout out to Crystal…one of the young ladies from the church I pastor who has shown the heart of grace to others after learning it herself. You, Lisa, are another one who has learned that lesson as well.

  2. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! What a lovely photo of your daughter and your father. Their faces have such joy on them!
    I am not active in my nursing career now, but I know I used my hands all the time. Now, my hands work at home, dial up my children for a talk, prepare a dinner once a week for my dad. Quieter, more behind the scenes, but all of it important to keeping up connections. And isn’t that what we need to do?

  3. Carrie

    What a beautiful picture you’ve shared here! Jesus works through others’ hands. I love how the worker laundered and carefully folded the clothing – all without needing to be noticed. That’s what I strive for. Serving without being noticed. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Dawn


    When my grandmother spent the last months of her life in a nursing facility it was one of the most difficult times for me as an adult. To see her declining rapidly, life leaving her body, I was protective of her sweet special self and found myself watching the workers like a hawk. Literally. My idea of what it would look like and did were two different things, thankfully. I saw, like you, the touch that brought hope, healing and life in the midst of hard and it filled my own heart with peace. I was thankful the Lord brought special people to care for her as her days were nearing completion.
    🙂 Blessings,

  5. Linda Stoll

    Dear Lisa … what a beautiful, touching ode to those who reach out to touch those in their later years. Leaving one’s home sweet home is a scary, daunting prospect.

    To find oneself in a haven such as you’ve described today would be a soothing blessing indeed …

  6. Sharon

    Again, a beautifully touching story about the calling of servanthood. And yes, being a servant sometimes requires *getting into the trenches* and doing the less-glamorous stuff.

    This week I am going down to visit my mom again. I will remember your words, and make a more mindful effort to hug my mom, give her kisses, and let my hands speak to her of my care and love.


  7. Pam

    You are so right, Lisa! I am currently reading A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink and he talks much about the value of people who operate in High Touch, High Concept gifts and skills. He notes these are the areas most needed as we draw to a close of the Information age and move to the Conceptual Age. There are also so many who don’t have the benefit of touch who need it. Widows, children, seniors all benefit so much from a hug or a hand on the shoulder or a pat on the back.

  8. Karen Rice

    My grandmother became blind and partially deaf before her death. She LOVED to have someone brush her hair and put a little blush on her cheeks. It lifted her spirit.

  9. Jean Wise

    Love the photo. Brings back memories of the summer I worked in long term care while studying to be a nurse. They taught me so much especially to care, touch and love these living treasures we have. This post blessed me tonight. Thanks Lisa

  10. floyd

    I so appreciate the perspective in which you look at life. Seeing the things that most people don’t is a gift from God. You see what He sees.

  11. saleslady371

    Your message is lovely and takes the everyday stuff to a new level. I use my hands in a lot of ways these days to serve my family. I get text messages often like this morning when my daughter asked for prayer as she drove her husband to the ER and I sent a text back. I will apply your message of cheerful service.

  12. Karen Del Tatto

    “To touch hearts sometimes you have to use your hands”. Beautiful!

    The experiences you shared from the nursing home perfectly illustrated what it means to “touch hearts with your hands”, and was an encouragement to me to serve with my hands more.

    Thank you so much for this very edifying post.

  13. Michele Morin

    Hands on love.
    I need this reminder as my boys get bigger and appear to need me less and less. It’s still the unseen acts of service that say love to them — a treat in their lunch, a “rush job” on a needed piece of laundry. I want to have the servant’s heart that makes this happen quietly and with love.

  14. Elizabeth

    So true! I was just reminded through your post of a gal at church who is constantly serving, hands on, in so many ways. She has a huge heart to serve and your post has urged me to use my own hands to write her a note telling her how loved and appreciated she is.

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