Bleeding Fingers And Band-Aids
By Joseph J. Mazzella • November 2, 2022
It was the middle of winter some 30 years ago. I was a young father with 3 little children counting on me. My college education, however, wasn’t helping me to find a good job in our depressed area. My work as a substitute teacher had dried up and now I was working in a saw mill for just above the minimum wage. As I got ready to go to work I wrapped band-aids around my fingers and put more in my pockets. Cutting and stacking lumber for 8 hours a day had caused my fingers to split and bleed at their tips in the cold, dry, winter air. I looked in the mirror and sighed. Then I walked down to my car in the snow and hoped it would start.
That day at work was harder than normal. We were short handed on workers. The machines kept breaking down. And we had to rush to catch back up as the lumber stacked up. On top of it all the heaters in the building weren’t working and we could see our breath as we spent hours chopping, stacking, carrying, and packaging the hard wood flooring to be shipped out.
When the work day finally ended I walked wearily toward the time clock, took off my work gloves and inspected my aching fingers. The splits were worse than ever and I had bled through the band-aids again. I tried to straighten out but my bad back cramped up as I did. I don’t think I had ever felt that tired, hurting, and sad before. I started my car and drove back home. I looked at the snow and blinked back tears. I wondered how long I could keep doing this, if things would ever get any better, and why life was so hard.
I tried to put a smile on my face as I opened my front door but instead one appeared naturally. My daughter ran up to me, yelled “Daddy!”, and wrapped her little arms around my neck. I lifted her up and my heart exploded with Love. My tired body didn’t feel so tired anymore. My aches and pains disappeared into her hug. And the joy in my heart chased the sadness away. In that moment I knew I could continue on and that things would get better. In that second I remembered again that I was here for Love. I kissed my little girl’s cheek, held her tight, and thanked God for my life as hard as it was.
I think we all have bleeding fingers and band-aid days in our lives here. But with God and Love we can make it through them all. After all, work may give us a living, but it is Love that gives us a life.
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