Sunday, February 9, 2014

February Love Letters- Love Honors Others (Daddy's Hands) by Catherine Caracio

Large, thick, impressive - those were my Daddy's hands.  As a toddler, I could only get my pudgy hand around his index finger as I learned to walk.  Those hands continued to steady & guide me during the 50 years we shared in this life, and although I no longer can enjoy his physical presence on earth, his guidance lingers with me.

The  hands that corrected me when necessary, were the same ones that held me on his lap when I was hurt or afraid.  When Momma was teaching school and working on her Master's degree at night, it was my Daddy's hands that made my lunch and ironed my clothes.

Those hands taught me how to garden and to impeccably groom the lawn.  The day that his hands trusted the lawn edger to mine, I knew that I had come of age in his eyes.  We could work side by side for hours in the yard, without a word shared between us - conveying his inner thoughts was not in Daddy's comfort zone, but he found satisfaction in having family near.

While living in my parents' home, I cannot recall a single day passing without him telling me that he loved me, and he exemplified this in many ways. 

 My least favorite way during High School, was his greeting my dates at our door, extending that big hand in greeting, as he explained what was AND was not acceptable behavior on a date with his daughter.   Although only 5'9", he earned the title of "Big Sam" from the guys in my high school.  As an adult, I realize how uncomfortable that must have been for him too, and I appreciate the measures he took to be protective of me.

In addition to learning how to plant & nurture seeds in the soil,  Daddy also taught me to do the same in people's lives.  He NEVER met a stranger, and I've embarrassed my daughters for years by talking to the people in the check-out line, just like Daddy did.  Extending special attention to the vulnerable and hurting was second nature to him  Those massive hands helped a friend brand his cattle, as well as rolled truffles as Christmas gifts to the widows he & Momma checked on.

Daddy had uncompromising integrity, a phenomenal work ethic and abounding faithfulness.  The thick wedding band on his left hand was an unnecessary reminder of his commitment to Momma - it would never have occurred to him to  break his vow to her.  His life choices showed me that any sacrifice caused by remaining faithful to God, was worth more than the approval of men. 

 His refusal to compromise his belief in a miraculous God, resulted in his resignation as Pastor in a major denomination, which left him "black balled" & us homeless, since the parsonage was no longer available to us.   He threw all of his confidence into God's ability to provide, which occurred in phenomenal ways.   Daddy was amazing at managing the resources that God provided and could be found daily at his desk, "putting a pencil to it."

As the last of three daughters, I was given the name Catherine Jon after Daddy, John Samuel.  As a gangly youngster, my "friends" gave me the nickname of "huge hands" and both names caused embarrassment.  However, I now greatly value my middle name and since I inherited my hands from Daddy, I hope that I use them  to serve my Creator and bless others,  as he did. The most valuable lesson Daddy taught me, was when his hands opened the Bible & showed me that I also had a Heavenly Father who loved me sacrificially, and helped me to develop a personal relationship with God.

I feel a bit of guilt as I share how blessed I was by my daddy, when I realize many people didn't benefit from their relationship with their dad, may have been hurt by him or have never even met him.  Instead of apologizing for my experience, I prefer to offer you encouragement from it - you DO have a daddy who loves & cares for you more than you can imagine.  His name is ABBA, the living  God of heaven and earth.  God already knows every detail about you, He loves you anyway, and He created you to be in relationship with Him.   Although He will not force you into a relationship with Him, He has been patiently waiting for you with arms wide open.  Share your heart with Him, read His guide for your life & love letter to you,  in the Bible.  I will leave you with my earthy Daddy's "go to" advice of,  "HOLD STEADY", which loosely interpreted means, cling to your heavenly Father's almighty hand.  You have everything to gain!

1 comment:

  1. Catherine, thank you for the visual images your words create and the spiritual parallels you shared from your relationship with your daddy. I was touched by your reflections of your life's lessons you gained from your dad.