So often our success is because of the hard work of a mother, father, elder brother or sister, or a wife or husband. Sometimes we forget, and tell the world we are self-made people, but today on her birthday I remembered my late mother’s wedding ring: It was worn out, not for the lack of gold, but by the scrubbing, stitching, washing and working those hands wearing that ring did as I grew up.

This story I am going to recount reminds me of her and hopefully will bring to your mind, people who have worked behind the scenes for your success:

Way back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the children wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy. After many long discussions at night, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and with his earnings support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies he would support the other brother either with sales of his art work or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin and one brother, Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg while the other brother, Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother.

When the young artist returned to his village, the family held a festive dinner. Albrecht the artist then rose from his honoured position at the head of the table and said, “And now blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. You can go to art school and I will take care of you.”

Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks, then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to art school. Look … look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and I cannot even hold a glass, I cannot draw or paint delicate lines on canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother … for me it is too late.”

To pay homage to his brother Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands,” but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love “The Praying Hands.”

There’s always someone with such hands behind each one of us isn’t it?

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