Lending a Hand

Sometimes making a difference in somebody’s life doesn’t have to cost you anything or expend your resources. Sometimes making a difference is as simple as lending a hand and a little bit of time. More often, the giver receives greater joy.

 Variations of Lending a Hand

We’ve all applauded a splendid stage performance or the accomplishment of an individual. Some people say that recognition is what children cry for and grown men will die for. Every individual (no matter how shy) needs to be encouraged for a job well done and for the dedication and hard work it took to achieve a goal or level of competency.

Health care professionals have an entire ministry based on lending a hand in the form of providing treatments, performing procedures or helping repair the body to bring about healing.

Reassuring HandsThe intangible gift of lending a hand was taught to me by my high school friend Patty. She sat silently by my side and held my hand at my mother’s funeral. There were no words she could have said to make it less painful for a 19-year-old expectant mother with a broken heart. Many people ministered to our family in many different ways during that time of grief and loss. Of all the flowers and cards I received, what I remember most nearly 44 years later is Patty simply sitting there beside me and silently holding my hand. Sometimes the best form of lending a hand is just to show up and say absolutely nothing (and listen).

In early November, I spent some time with my adult son, daughter-in-law and the most precious granddaughter in the entire Universe (in my humble, and somewhat biased opinion). Visiting them is always a joy and leaving them is always the hardest thing I do. Pulling out of their driveway, I leave a bit of my heart behind every time I go. Our time together is always too short and there are always things we wish we had more time to do together. This visit was no exception.

The first snow of the winter fell while I was there in the mountains. There wasn’t a lot of ground cover, yet the temperature dipped drastically, reminding us that it is “game on” for winter weather. My son has been very industrious for the past several months gathering firewood from fallen trees in his effort to provide an adequate store of firewood for his buck stove to keep his family warm during the winter. In addition to being a husband and father, holding a busy full time job, playing an active role in his church, and backpacking the Appalachian Trail, he has taken on many other small jobs that require a huge amount of his time. He works very hard and sometimes there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all the things that need to be done.

After we returned home from church and ate lunch, I began packing my car for the return trip home. “You don’t have to rush off.” He said. He always says this and it always makes me glad he wants me to stay longer. “I was hoping you’d come out and watch me split logs and talk.” The words I heard him speak were like music to a mother’s ears. Mother-son bonding time occurred amidst the roar of the motor of a log splitter. Hearing protection meant neither of us could really carry on much of a conversation.   It didn’t matter. We were together, sharing the moment and I was literally lending a hand. The joy was mine.

Mother-son bonding splitting the winter firewood.

Mother-son bonding splitting the winter firewood.

Many times I have personally been on the receiving end of someone lending a hand.   Once when I was a struggling single mother who needed help paying my electric bill, a neighbor helped me keep the lights on. I have never forgotten that kindness.   Many times I have needed a ride to work because my vehicle was in the shop for repairs. I have a wonderful friend who always comes to my aid.

A Biblical example of lending a hand can be found in Ecclesiastes 4:10 “For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. “ The simple act of lending a hand costs nothing and means so much to the recipient. Have you ever been the recipient (or the giver) of a lent hand? I’d love to hear your comments.

Pam Baker, RN


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