Of Toenails and Faith

We've apparently got this tradition where someone has to smash a toe nail into oblivion before the end of summer. Last year my dear and loving husband began this highly competitive event as he was trying to drive a fence post into the ground. The top of the fence post driver blew out as he slammed the weight of it down with all his force. It didn't stop when it should have and rammed his shod toes about 2" into the ground. Before I was fully aware of what happened he was several hundred yards up in the field hopping around and cussing like a sailor. We were both shocked to find that his toes were still attached to the end of his foot and I made him to x-ray himself to see where it was broken. He lived a miracle - it wasn't broken at all. He did, however, lose his big toe nail and limped for a few weeks.

Not to be outdone, Luke tried to one-up his dad this week. The boy was riding his bike without shoes. Yep, against every parental admonishment about such stupidity he did just that. The nail of his big toe was sticking straight up in the air when he came screaming into the house.

Now I'm normally not the most sympathetic mom there is. In fact, I've been known to threaten "if you break a leg don't come crying to me!" and mean it. But I could clearly see that this was time to put away the "I told you so" and slap some mother-loving on that thing. And my first instinct was to slap a band-aid on it so that neither of us had to look at that nail waving at us any longer.

But then I got to thinking that the poor boy will be going to camp next week and what on earth will he do with that thing waving around just asking to be ripped off? I don't care what kind of a non-sympathetic mother I am, I couldn't stand the mere thought of that. Plus, when I went to change the band-aid last night it was stuck to the nail and I said we'd just go to the doctor and let them deal with it.

Trying to minimize the trauma for the boy (because he was totally skeeved out by the thought of his nail being cut off) I told him that Thursdays are good days to have your foot removed. He was onto me, but it made him laugh. Mission accomplished.

At the doctor he put on his brave face but was nearly in tears regardless. We prayed together that it wouldn't hurt much, but deep in my heart I knew that only a miracle would keep that from happening. Not that God isn't capable, or doesn't care about loose toe nails on little boys, but the faith of an adult sees things through a realistic set of glasses.

Being braver still, Luke started telling me that he knows Someone braver than anyone else. That Someone died just so that Luke and I could go to heaven. I was nearly in tears for this tender hearted son who needed his nail cut off.

The doctor peeled away the bandaids and much to both our delight the nail was laying down and looking all normal, except bluish and yellowish and bloody. Upon close inspection (that didn't involve any touching) it was determined that it was bent back clear to the nail bed. Because it was attached at the back and one side she didn't want to cut it off. We were advised to keep it wrapped for a while, it would hurt like the dickens for about 2 weeks, and in about 6 months the new nail would completely grow out and that useless flap would be gone. She congratulated me on the quick thinking to slap a band-aid on it and did the same. And we were sent on our way home.

The faith of children doesn't see things so realistically. Luke knew that the same God who died for him was the God that could keep a toe from hurting at the doctor. The faith of a child truly humbles me.

19 comments:

Debbie Yost said...

They sure surprise you with their faith.

My manicurist said that you break a nail off too far down (where it hurts) you can put the acrylic nail on it and it doesn't hurt. She said she does it for construction workers all the time. I haven't tried it myself but she told me this when I was relaying a story of how I had bent one of my nails back way too far and it tore off. I realize a young boy may not like having an acrylic nail on his toe, but if it falls off you might want to consider it. Just make sure you go to someone reputable!

Michelle said...

Now that's one smart kid. And not so smart at the same time, poor guy! Does he learn from these little life lessons? Here's hoping he does ok at camp with the nail!

Pam said...

Ouch! Poor guy! But what faith he showed!

Flea said...

Owie! Owie! You just lead a humble existence, don't you, between Micah and Luke? I'm sure Sam gives you plenty of opportunities to feel superior, though. :)

Andrea said...

Ouch! That is all I can say, I cringed when I was reading this. Luke is a wonderful boy! You have such spritually gifted children. You do a fantastic job teaching them.

vic said...

That had me all squeamish - reading the entire thing.

Karen MEG said...

Oh, poor toes!

Brave Luke, that must hurt like crazy!!

Becoming Mommy said...

what a sweet boy. I welled up.

Karen said...

My toes hurt just reading this and I am usually not this squeemish.

Poor toe!

Karen said...

Reading through the comments, I realized, there are a lot of us Karens out there!! Your son's faith is inspiring. I'm so glad you shared it with us.

Caution said...

First, I sent two of my boys on a 2mile bike ride yesterday - both in flipflops. Yikes.
Second, isn't it amazing how the Lord brings comfort to us? When my son was five, he decided in the middle of the night to ask Jesus to live in his heart. He said he knew that God was bigger than anything we fear and my boy was fearing the dark.
Third, how did you not throw up when you saw that nail sticking up??

Karen said...

Caution - we let our kids ride in bare feet all the time, obviously. It's Sam that thinks it shouldn't happen, obviously he's right.

God is truly amazing. I was nearly in tears as Luke described in detail how Jesus suffered and died for us all because He loves us.

And I have a galvanized stomach. It's worse when it's my own kids that the injuries are on, but there's little I can't handle. It's kinda sad.

Don Mills Diva said...

Chills.

This post gave me chills - thanks Karen.

Jenn said...

Ouch ! He's lucky it could be left on. When my oldest daughter was 4-5 she somehow ripped hers almost all the way off swinging barefoot and hit a rock or something,with all the blood and tears and screaming I couldn't rip it off, I took her to the doc he came in and said oh my look at that and ripped it off at the same time! Boy did that girl scream!

utmomof5 said...

Kids faith can be so inspiring sometimes. Great post!! I was wondering from the title how the two could be related!?

Allison Says said...

Aw, poor guy! That's good news that it'll be fine, though. I hope it doesn't hurt too badly for the next 2 weeks!

HalfAsstic.com said...

From the mouths of babes...

JennyH said...

OUCH! I am surprised the doc didn't remove it. I dropped a big brick on my toe as a child then a few days later my dad's shoe hit it and up came the nail. Still attached but sticking up. They took me to the ER and the doctor soaked my foot in salty water for a while then came in and ripped the nail right off. It didn't even hurt. Sounds awful though!
Hope his toe is feeling better.

Colleen said...

While that crazy Luke of yours will say some of the funniest things, he does seem to be an old soul at heart.
He said something to me on Saturday about 2 minutes after meeting me, and he was totally serious and I was blown away by his honesty and the observations he made. Unfortunately I was SO blown away that I don't feel I responded to him properly...I was caught off-guard by your funny guy being so serious and mature.