Jan 29th

I warn you – this is a sad, cringe-inducing story.

Back a few years ago I was working on our house to get it ready for us to sell it. I was finishing up the basement bedroom. Here’s what I put in Erik’s Journal (he’s our youngest):

I was working on the closet door and Carl (then 6) and Erik (only twenty months old) were alternately watching me and playing with toys and I had just started to saw a quarter inch off the bottom of the door when Erik, who I assumed (unwisely, wrongly, foolishly) would know not to put his hand where I was sawing, did so. He recoiled and I could tell immediately that it was bad: the end of his left pinky was not fully attached. He was very upset and I carried him upstairs, quite upset myself. Debbie called 911 while I held him and he kept crying. So the ambulance came and I held him while we rode in it to Hennepin County Medical Center in Downtown Minneapolis. This was at about 2:30. He was pretty calm from the start of the ride for the rest of the time, thankfully. We had some hope that they would be able to save the end of his finger (in between the second and third knuckle) but this was not to be, which grieved us. The bone had been cut clear though . . .

So now if you look at his hand, it has a clearly shortened pinky with a scar on the tip. I grieved much that week, with no small amount of guilt at my foolishness.

There are some touches that God painted into the story that are more cheerful. A week later I still needed to finish the job and while I was doing it, I asked Debbie to bring Erik down to watch me. He showed no signs of fear or apprehension. So it appears that I didn’t scar him psychologically, at least.

And of course, since then I have been more careful.

These days, he will proudly show you his slightly different hand if you ask. A badge of courage of a different kind.

And when our family doctor (whose religious viewpoint we didn’t, and still don’t, know) looked at it a few days later to see if it was healing well, he looked my wife in the eye and said “This was God’s will.” Wow.

Towards the end of that day one of our older kids asked if it was going to be the worst day of that year. I told them that I hoped it would be and I am relieved and thankful to report that it was.
And I pray it is my worst day as a father. Ever.