Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who's heart can I touch?

My dad has calloused hands and he has multiple cuts, nicks, and scars on them that he's collected over his life. Every meal time growing up we'd argue about who got to sit next to him. We loved our mom and siblings but we spent all day with them. Daddy had to go to work so having him at home was always the most special part of our day. I remember when we'd pray before meals, Daddy would pick which person's turn it was to say grace. When the prayer was over he'd always squeeze the hand of whichever one of us was sitting next to him. It was always three quick squeezes, then he'd let go and we'd eat. I remember when I was very little, around three I would imagine, I explained to him that I was too little and he hurt my fingers when he did that. My dad just smiled with genuine compassion and apologized. That was the day Daddy explained to me the reason he always held our hands for a moment longer than needed and why he always squeezed them three times. "Each time I get to hold your hands, they grow just a little bit bigger and before too long, they'll be the hands of a grown up. So when I squeeze your little hands it's just to say 'I love you and you'll always be my little girl, no matter how big you grow.'" That was enough for me.
My dad is an amazing prayer but my mom's bedtime prayer is the one that will forever stick with me. She's a small lady, barely weighs over 100 pounds. Don't let her stature deceive you though. My mom is one of the strongest and hardest working women I've ever known. She'd always hold just one of my hands, pray about the events of our day and then say "Please help Trinity to have a good night's sleep and happy dreams, amen." She'd emphasize the two syllables in amen and squeeze my hand tight with each part of that little word. I never did ask Mama why she did this, she probably didn't even know she did. But I always assumed it was a reason similar to Daddy's.
I've left home now and am happily married, but there are times when I'm nervous or frustration floods over me and I reach for Justin's hand. He's brought a new form of comfort, one of a companion instead of parent. But a quick prayer and the holding of my hand sure does make the weight of my worries lessen.
The moral of the story: No matter your age, your gender or your ability to say fancy prayers, remember that taking someone's hand and saying a simple word to God with them can make all the difference in the world.

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