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May 21

The Power of a Daddy Hug

I was caught by surprise this morning. Linda and I were having a time of prayer over our family and our day. As I was praying I was reminded of an event that had happened the day before, it was a moment of grace and I hadn’t let it really impact me. I had been rushing through the day performing my responsibilities and duties. We were busy getting ready for two birthday parties on back to back nights, and in the middle of that we were looking at a used car a few miles from our house. So in all the busyness I hadn’t taken time to process my day.

What so caught me by surprise was a hug from my father. He had stopped by to offer help with medical bills that I accumulated while having a close encounter with a blood clot in my thigh. We sat and talked about this some. I told him that part of me wanted to make it on my own and prove that I could take care of it, I was a bit embarrassed to accept the help, but that I really appreciated it. As he rose from the chair in my office to leave I leveled with him. I said dad “The last couple of years I feel like financially I have been pushing a rock up hill with my nose and I am not making any progress.” He said “I had some years like that back around 1982-1984, I wondered if I would ever turn the corner.” Then he gave me a hug. As I reflected on it, it was such a sweet event. It was one of the few hugs my father has given me on his own volition. It was a hug given out of a shared emotion or experience. He knew where I was coming from and wanted to comfort and encourage me.

The gravity and impact of this gesture hit my spirit like a flood and I was overwhelmed, the tears flowed, and I was alive again to joy. It gave me a contrast to how I have been living the last number of month, numb, inoculated from both pain and joy, and from letting others impact my heart.

The thought came “I need to hug my children more” hugs have the power to heal and unleash untold things in them. Too often I am focused on helping them control their behavior, or avoid pain, but I don’t often enough let them tell their pain and then just hug them, no answers, no wise (prideful) words. A hug lets them know that I am with them in the struggle, having no expectations of what they should become or what kind of person they should be, letting them know that I will love them and be with them through anything.

When I am numb I am self centered and I can’t care for them through their imperfections but instead pile expectations on them. They are valued if they make me look good or don’t add another thing to my already long and heavy list. Often their imperfections remind me of mine, the ones that I haven’t made peace with, and my lack is projected on them with irratation.

I have this same power with my wife and want to be able to impact her with grace. Sometimes I struggle with how to do this, and it becomes such a large thing that I don’t think I can do however it really boils down to listening with my heart, comforting, allowing her to lay her cares down and giving her a verbal and physical hug. Expressing all the things I appreciate about her and honoring how she has been an agent of grace in my life.

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