My Father’s Face

Well, it’s Friday again. This is my fourth week trying Five Minute Friday. This is where a group of bloggers (Anyone, really! Thanks, Internet!) can log on here and get a one-word prompt to write about for five minutes. After you write, you link up with the other people who have done the same. It’s a great way to get to know new writers and to see what goes on in other’s minds when we’re all prompted with the same word/topic. Plus, it’s just a good challenge (and kind of fun too!) 🙂

Today’s word was: TURN

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MY FATHER’S FACE

It was dark. Our camping trip was well underway and I was snuggled in my sleeping bag with heavy eyes. Granted we’d only gone as far as the backyard, but sleeping in a tent all night was a pretty big deal to my little Kindergarten self.

I tried to stop my brain from having so many thoughts… and I tried to stop my wiggles as well. But I just couldn’t. Sleep wasn’t happening on this hard ground where I could feel the coldness of the earth and hear strange and scary noises.

And then suddenly I knew what do to. I knew what would help me fall asleep at last.

And so I stretched out my little hand.

Beside me lay my father in his sleeping bag. I couldn’t see him but I knew he was there. What I wanted to know was if he was facing me.

Was his face turned toward me?

I felt in the darkness and found his face. I felt his warm nose and forehead and patted his cheeks.

“What are doing?” his whispered voice cut through the darkness.

“Daddy, I just wanted to make sure your face was looking at me. Now I feel safe and I can go to sleep.”

I smiled and slid my arms back into the warmth of my sleeping bag.

I’d found my peace.

My Daddy was looking at me in the darkness. Even if I couldn’t see him, I knew he was there.

Now I rarely lay in a sleeping bag, but sometimes I still have trouble finding sleep. The darkness, the noises, and the unknowns of this earth can keep me awake.

Though I try to calm my anxious thoughts and restless body, I often fail.

But I know what to do.

I reach out again to my Father. The Father who is always beside me and who can provide me with a peace that passes all understanding.

His voice cuts through the darkness.

And I rest assured that He will turn His face toward me.

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’

Number 6:24-26

Safety Pin Surgeon

My daughter had been watching me and was disappointed in my reaction. She had been hoping to witness a little drama and excitement… and possibly tears. But there were no tears involved. Instead I was quite stoic and the emotions of my face were of self-pride and relief. I had just performed a minor surgery on myself and had been successful.DSC_0624

The term “surgery” may be a little excessive. Maybe what I did was called a “procedure” when I dropped the safety pin into a pot of boiling water and then later pried it open to expose its cooled-off needle tip. I had taken that makeshift medical instrument and had dug it into the palm of my hand to free the splinter that had been wedged inside my skin for five days.

When the splinter was finally released from its fleshy prison I held it out on the tip of my finger and stared at it.

It was microscopic.

I could barely even see the tiny piece of rose bush that had been figuratively and literally a thorn in my flesh.

Five days earlier I had been trimming our rose bushes and the result had been better looking landscaping, but forearms that looked like I had been in a fight with a cat. And lost.

I knew I had gotten a few thorns stuck in my skin and I spent a minute or two extracting them. It wasn’t a big deal except for one stubborn thorn in my palm that just wouldn’t budge. I really didn’t give it much thought after a few attempts. I figured it would work its way out eventually and at least my rosebushes were free of its burden.

The days passed and I half-heartedly and periodically would try in vain to remove the little thorn. By day five I realized that my entire hand was beginning to hurt. I was having trouble grabbling onto things and since I’m right-handed I was constantly being reminded that it was painful to touch anything against my palm. The skin around the splinter was red and puffy and actually beginning to look infected.

It was time for this safety pin physician to heal thyself.

And so it had come to this post-op moment, my daughter walking away shrugging and bored and me holding a tiny thorn on my fingertip in the sunlight coming in from the kitchen window.

How could something so small have caused such pain?

The pus that oozed from my palm indicated that my body had been fighting this miniature enemy. It was a foreign object. It had not belonged in my skin and my body had rejected it.

I disposed of my surgical instrument and carefully washed my hands and squeezed some antibacterial goo onto my palm. A couple of Band-Aids were soon in place and I released myself to go back to all normal activity.

The tiny perpetrator was long gone and could do no more harm.

But I have other thorns.

They’re not literal, but they cause just as much pain, if not more. They stem not from a bush, but from fear. They cling to my flesh as worry and anxiety.

I hate what they do to me.

The worry often starts so small and I label it is “concern” or “wise discernment” rather than seeing it for what it truly is.

“This worry is microscopic,” I think to myself, “What harm could it cause me to carry it around for awhile?”

And then it festers.

I half-heartedly and periodically tell myself that I should stop worrying. I should let it go and trust God. I should pray about it and remember that the Bible says “Do not worry.” But often my attempts at removing it are in vain.

Finally, I come to a point where I must make a decision. Will I leave the thorn of worry in my flesh and allow the infection to win? Or will I put some water on the stove and bring it to a boil in preparation for some surgery?

Either way it hurts. That’s the nature of a thorn in one’s flesh. But when I take the time and make the effort to get rid of the worry—that nasty enemy to my soul, then the healing process begins. When the perpetrator is gone, it can do no more harm.

And I know my Father who watches over me will be pleased with my reaction, because I have replaced a thorn in my flesh with not a Band-Aid, but with trust in The Great Physician.