“What happened here?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I think I cut it while fixing the gutter.”

I rubbed my eight-year-old fingers along yet another deep groove in my father’s finger.

We drove in the car. It was before air bags, and I got to sit in the front and hold his hand.  It was our father-daughter ritual when sent on a grocery run.

I loved how I felt small and safe with my hand in his. I rubbed my smooth girl-fingers along his palm. The countless calluses and cuts were evidence of his hard work taking care of our family.

My dad’s weekend hands fixed, built, and lifted.

My dad’s nighttime hands held my mom.

My dad’s early morning hands pressed my back when I heard his voice, “I’m crazy about you.”

As a teenager and young adult, my dad’s hands had to withhold privileges or set boundaries.

Occasionally, my dad’s hands rescued me and paid my debts.

My dad’s hands pointed me to the Father. Because of the work of his hands, I recognized the work of the Lord.

And later, as my hands slipped from his, it seemed so natural to cling to Another’s pierced and callused hands.

Hands whose work is always to restore, and never to destroy.

Hands that I can trust to hold me up.

Hands that apply pressure from a crazy kind of love.

Hands that fence me in for my protection.

Hands that reached down to meet me. To rescue me and pay my debt.

And there, in the palm of His hand, I’m a child again. Small, safe, and loved.

Happy Father’s Day!

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