Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Superman and Swing Sets

I don’t know if you have ever had one of those times in life where you think, “When did this happen?”

I had one of those moments last week.

                I never worked with my dad on much of anything as a child, but I did take note of those men I did work with as a child.  Their big hands grabbing a hold of the hay bale when my young arms would fail and my small hands ached under the load.  Memories of using a tool I couldn’t work properly with my small hands and so someone would come and help me use it properly, and even just shaking the hand of an adult and thinking about how big their hands were.

                I always hoped someday I would have the “big hands.” 

                It was almost as if the strength was represented in those “big hands.”  Strength that I didn’t have, it represented something more powerful than me.  I used to fantasize what I would do with my big hands if I had them.  Someday, would I be the guy with the big hands?  Working with a child and they would look at me when they couldn’t work the tool properly, or lift the burden with eyes that told the story of someone who needed help.  Big hands held an almost superhero effect to me when I was a child.

The day came.

I was working on putting together a swing set.  As I have mentioned, I am not much of a handy man, putting together a swing set is a far cry from working in the fields and baling hay, tearing out a motor, or cutting down trees.  My hands are not very rough.   I have a few calluses, but nothing very remarkable.

In fact, there is nothing that remarkable about my hands.

As I was working on the swing set, my daughter Arianna (two and a half years) came up and wanted to help me.  Of course, knowing that her “helping” would slow down my process, I realized this was more about wanting to be with dad than actually helping.  She was trying to do a few things thinking she was helping.  Then I gave her a ratchet and told her to turn a bolt, and she actually did it.  The funny thing was… she knew she was actually doing something.

Her smile showed that she knew she had actually accomplished something.  This wasn’t pretend anymore.
She kept on turning, and turning, until it got a little too tight for her little 2 year old muscles to turn.  She grunted, trying to turn the bolt.  Looked up, “(grunt) Daddy help.”

I simply put my hand around her two hands, which were wrapped around the wrench and gave it a couple of turns.  “There, that should do it.”

“Thanks dad!”

Then it hit me.  I have the big hands.

I really began reflecting on what that meant.  Maybe this seems relatively elementary to everyone else, but it struck me just how important of a role I really have in Arianna’s life and from that so many of the lives around me.  I am not the child. 

Yet another facet in the diamond of life.

I have always thought of myself as rather insignificant, at least that is what I default to.  The problem with that is, to at least a few people, I am not insignificant at all.  In fact, I am a “big handed” superhero (if to no one else…my children).  

What am I going to do with that?

My children will probably grow up with there being at least a short stage in their life where daddy is superman.  What am I going to do with that?

This blows my mind.

We all have someone looking at us.  They may not believe we are superman (or woman), but they do look to us for friendship, guidance, respect, love, grace, direction, hope, strength, and so many other things.  How are we doing in that?  What are we doing with this responsibility?  

What will we do when life’s journey gets difficult with the “bolts” or trials and those who need us look to us and say, “help!”  Will we use the God given abilities that we have to help?

Later on in the set up process of the swing set, I was reading directions (guys, forgive me, I was honestly confused and lost and running out of daylight…so I caved.) and Arianna came up and asked, “What are you doing daddy?”

“I am looking at the directions here.”

“Why?” in typical two year old fashion.

“Because daddy isn’t a super fix it man.”

“Yes you is daddy.”

I am not.  I will never be.  However, she believes in me and while I am not going to try to convince her throughout her life that I am “super-big hand- fix it man” I am going to try to take the responsibility of being the “big hand man” to her and love her and lead her into the knowledge that daddy loves her and will be the best superman I can be for her.  I will be the best superman I can be for those who God has placed in my path, realizing that I am not superman…but someone greater than superman leads my path.  He can, and will, give me the strength to lead those He has placed in my path.  He is the super power.  I am the man that realizes (in a very small way that needs more expansion) that fact.  

Just something I have been thinking about.

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