I remember daddy’s hands
Folded silently in prayer
And reaching out to hold me when I had a nightmare
You could read quite a story in the calluses and lines
Years of work and worry had left their mark behind
I remember daddy's hands
How they held my momma tight
And patted my back for something done right
There are things that I've forgotten that I loved about the man
But I'll always remember the love in daddy's hands
I remember daddy's hands working till they bled
Sacrificed unselfishly just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over
I'd live my life again
And never take for granted the love in daddy's hands
Were soft and kind when I was crying
Were hard as steel when I'd done wrong
Weren't always gentle but I've come to understand
There was always love in daddy's hands
I share these verses here because they have particular relevance to my family’s present situation. It has often been said, “Like father, like son!” In this case, it’s more akin to “Like father, like daughter!” I write here in reference to my wife, who is an only child, and who was also the apple of her father’s eye.
Of course, he passed away recently, and is now in Heaven, enjoying his eternal reward. For her part, my wife now carries on his legacy in this world each and every day as she lives out her life in ways that honor him.
Like the man in the song, my father-in-law spent his life in service of others. Having lost his own father when he was but a boy, he literally went to work and spent his whole life thereafter providing for others - from a mother and ten siblings to a wife and a daughter; to a wife, daughter, and son-in-law; to a wife, daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren; to a wife, daughter, son-in-law, three grandchildren, their respective spouses, and seven great grandchildren! Like the man in the song, all the man ever did was sacrifice and give of himself to others!
But also like the man in the song, all of this took unfortunately its toll on his body - especially his hands. On multiple occasions, he had to undergo carpal tunnel syndrome surgery acquired in most part from repetitive motion undertaken hundreds of times daily as a result of tightening bolts on passing cars on an assembly line at Ford Motor Company. In spite of multiple procedures to alleviate his pain, he still spent the last few years of his life with severe numbness and a lack of dexterity in his hands and fingers.
Imagine how alarmed my wife was, therefore, when she began to experience numbness in her own hands a few years ago. At first, it came and went. But with the passage of time, it became more frequent, and more painful. The result was her own diagnosis with carpal tunnel syndrome, which resulted in her own surgery this past week.
As her husband who loves here dearly, I hurt for her. So, I was glad to see the surgery unfold. But more than just sit back and allow the doctors and nurses to affect her healing, I was compelled to get involved personally. To be sure, I am no physician. As a result, I can neither perform surgery nor prescribe medicine. But I can be there for her and support her though this ordeal. She would doubtless do the same for me.
The problem is that even though she is on the road to relief, she cannot use her hands for a couple of weeks. But I can offer her my hands in place of hers. That is to say that what she cannot grip, I can grip on her behalf. What she cannot hold, I can hold on her behalf. What she cannot lift, I can lift on her behalf. In short, my hands can make it possible for her to still “hand”le most anything she could not otherwise “hand”le during this critical time.
A plethora of other artists have had another hit song down through the years revolving around a simple question and answer: That question is: “Wouldn’t you give your hand to a friend?” And the answer is: “Think of me as a friend!”
In his New Testament Letter to the Romans (chapter 15, verse 1), the Apostle Paul admonished those of us who are strong to assist those who are weak and without strength. Later, in his New Testament Letter to the Galatians (chapter 6, verse 2), he tells us why this matters.
We are to “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” The Contemporary English Version translates this verse to read: “You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.”
As a devoted husband, my job is to love and care for my wife. Clearly, that means offering her a helping hand. This I will gladly do. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am also called to love others and serve them. This I will also gladly do. For when I offer them a helping hand, I fulfill the desire of Christ for me as His follower.
Will you gladly do all this? I hope so. For remember, whenever we do, in the process, our hands then become a reflection of our daddy’s hands! And this includes not just those of our earthly fathers, but of our Heavenly Father as well – the Very One Whom the Bible repeatedly tells us we can refer to as “Abba” (or Daddy) and not just Father!
Melissa Manchester, Shirley Bassey, Johnny Mathis, Arthur Prysock, Vanessa Williams, and Viola Wills all recorded “Midnight Blue”, which asks this question.