That is my thumb. My left thumb. The photo has not been altered, nor the digit, either. It is as it has been since my birth (even before, I’m sure). It was not severed in some freak combine accident–I was born with the line, the ring around it.
My parents were regaled with various and sundry theories as to the why of it (no one really knows–though there is speculation that it may be linked to gestational renal development), but the TL;DR always ended with “He’ll grow out of it.”
Which apparently I did not. Indeed, if I had a nickel for every time I was asked the “rubber band question…” Well, you know.
All I know is that it’s another in a long series of ways that I’m just a little different from most folks. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mean special: I mean different. Just different. I’ve never felt special one day in my forty-two years of life. Like a square peg perpetually in a round hole.
Bookish and shy growing up, I was called “gay” in junior high, and actually had to fight to get my tormentors to leave me be. Indeed, my parents’ divorce during my adolescence didn’t do much for my already floundering self-confidence.
I was adrift in a sea of forgottenness. Oh, yes, I acted out for attention–which by and large, I didn’t get. The one thing that was always out of reach, and indeed still is, was my dad’s love. I was never good enough–just a little different, I guess–for him.
Which apparently I’m still am. I’m the bad one for, despite years of trying, putting up with his spew, and then excising his toxicity from my (and my family’s) life.
At this point, I wish I had a “hoo-ra” tale to tell–that after coming to the Lord, that my extended family found Him as well. But I don’t. In many ways, I still feel like that square peg–or the black sheep (or the sheep in wolves’ clothing). Somehow, I still manage to screw this family thing up…
I wish I had grown out if this, but like my thumb these feelings of inadequacy linger. And the idea of a distant, uninvolved God is strangely comforting. Because it’s all I’ve ever known of love. It’s my normal.
But I want more…
How will ever impart anything else to my kids? That they’re special–loved by their parents, and beloved of God? It’s so hard! And doesn’t come naturally.
I want to believe that ring around my thumb–like my being born with only one kidney–is more than just a fluke of genetics. I want to believe that it means I have been, for reasons known only to Him, marked by God. Set apart for His purposes.
Like the man in Scripture, I pray ‘Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.”