The insect bite on my arm still itched. Given the number of times I had scraped and clawed the spot, it was hard to understand how anything of the original inflammation was still left. Days after the initial bite, the damage that remained was a spot on my arm and an unattractive scab. My latest scratch had removed the cap and released a new flow of blood winding its way down my arm.
My Dad saw the blood and asked, “What is that?”
“It is an insect bite that itches for no other reason than it itched initially.”
“You need some oil on it.”
Dad came in with a small bottle of tea tree oil. “This works wonders.” Without asking, he took my hand to hold my arm still and started applying the oil.
A week later and I look back, replaying the scene in my mind. I am old enough to be a grandfather and my dad a great grandfather. I know how to take care of myself, or at least I like to think that I do. Yet, the action and the healing trail that followed (the last bit of evidence on my arm washed away today), reminds me that Dad acted as dads act. If I was writing a short, albeit interesting only to me, script of the memory, I would add a unspoken prayer to the sequence; Abba,“ take the hand of your once-favorite child, the child you raised to adulthood.” (Psalm 80.17)
I think, no it is more than that. I know I can take care of myself. The reminder is that while this is true on many fronts, it does not mean that I do not need the help of others. I can be a better man. The input and guidance of others can and does make a difference. Even with the obvious, it is good to receive a healing hand, a listening ear, and a voice of wisdom. Goodness is all around me, revealing itself through the hearts and actions of others. We are not alone.