We had quite the scare one night. While making a pot of French press coffee, I was pouring boiling water into the sink.
Some of the water splashed out and sprayed onto my 8-year-old daughter -- right through her shirt and directly onto her hip. She looked at me with this shocked expression.
Then she screeched, "It hurts! It burns. Daddy!"
I tore her shirt off as fast as I possibly could. I winced as I realized that there was already a mark the size of a nickel on her side. I immediately used my cellphone to call my wife to receive the proper instruction of what I was supposed to do and not do.
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I put ice on her fresh wound. Then aloe. I held her. I prayed with her. I did everything I could -- and it still was not enough to stifle her cries or take away the pain.
Pain teaches us a lot about life.
I discovered, at that moment, that I would have done absolutely anything to take away her agony, if only I could. I would rather have hurt myself than to watch her hurt that way. But as much as I loved her, I was helpless to give her exactly what she needed.
I am not as in control as I make myself out to be. And even though I did not mean to, the damage had already been done.
I felt awful. I felt powerless.
So much of what has destroyed our relationships in life start out with unintentional actions. Somewhere along the way we grew careless or self-centered. We did something that we later would regret. But try as we may, we can't take any of it back.
So what can we do?
And what about the wounded? Where do they go for help and healing? Who do they trust?
Then there are the scars.
I prayed my daughter would heal quickly and completely. I prayed that there would be no lasting damage, no matter how small, that would forever remind both of us of what happened that night.
I was reminded of the words of King David, which read, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed" (Psalm 34:18, NLT).
Julia eventually was able to settle down. I tucked her into bed. I sat at her side for quite a while. We talked about the events of that evening. The movie we watched. The books that we read. The school day that awaited her in the morning.
I told her that I was sorry about the burn. That I never wished to hurt her. She understands.
I prayed with her. I held her hand. I looked directly into her eyes and let her know that I was there. That I was not going anywhere as long as she needed someone there with her. I think she is going to be all right.
-- Justin Farley is a church planter and lead pastor at Blue Bridge Church in Kennewick. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org