When Mitch was a chubby little boy he injured his hand. It wasn't serious, but tiny Mitch thought it was so Natalie lovingly wrapped his hand in cotton wraps to let him know she cared and that everything was going to be okay. These bandages were to his hand what his blankies were to his heart and soul.

I remember sitting on the floor in Mitchell’s room watching his dimpled fingers move carefully to make sure everything was okay. I marveled at the miracle of life – for there was a little boy I helped create. How could it be? Just a few years prior he didn’t exist and my heart was none the wiser. Yet there he was – this miracle of life and love. I marveled how this little child could come into my life and not divide my love, but multiply it. Not a day passes I don’t thank my God for my children … for trusting me with His children.

Mitch was so concerned about the pain he felt and whether he would even heal. As his father, I could tell he was young and didn't know what I did. To my sweet baby boy, his injury was the end of the world … for all he knew at that moment was pain. But, having a little more life experience than my son, I could see things he couldn't and I assured him the pain would pass and that he would look back and be better because of it. 

Sure enough, a few hours passed and the throbbing pain that had him so concerned disappeared like a cloud on a summer day. All was sunny and well. Mitch, too, understood the importance of not putting his hand in things that could hurt him. He was, indeed, wiser because of that experience. Though it pained me to see my son in sorrow, I did my best to help him learn from that experience and assure him things would be okay. 

Losing my son has introduced a pain that goes far beyond the reach of man and medicine. I wish there were mortal bandages to soothe the pains of death. Suddenly the tables have turned and I find myself in a great deal of pain, carefully moving here and there to make sure everything is going to be okay. Like Mitch was back then, I am the child this time, learning lessons from my Father. I hope I’m listening. I hope. And though I stumble and fall a million times, though I may disappoint Him because of things I should have done better or known better, I keep trying. I know He still loves me as I loved my son. 

When I see this photo of Mitchell’s little hands my heart swells with great love and deep sorrow. I remember that I, too, am a child learning how to be a better person tomorrow.

I had no idea a few years from the time of this tender photo, years that would pass by in the blink of an eye, that I would hold these same, tender hands in the quiet of night and whisper into my son’s ear to not be afraid. That I would softly tell him how proud I was of the young man he had become … and that one day, when I grow up, I want to be like my son.

These tender hands, so innocent and pure, were put through hardship I wouldn’t understand for a few more years. Looking back now I know, my son was here to teach me how to learn and grow … to worry less about the body and more upon the soul. 

I cannot help but think about what it means to hurt and to heal. It is a painful process and oh, so real. But like I tried to teach my son, and my Father is now teaching me, that the pain I feel shall one day pass and soon I shall see.