Last night, I sat with my daughter and traced our hands onto a sheet of paper with different color crayons. After we were done, what was left was an array of rainbow colored fingers, both big and small. We then counted them up: at least 30 hands with 300 fingers, all overlapping each other on a single piece of paper. It gave me pause to think for a moment. In the last few days, I’ve gotten emails, text messages and word of mouth announcements from friends, family, non-profit organizations, church groups, soccer leagues and local retail stores, reaching out to everyone in the area, calling for any assistance that anyone could provide towards the relief efforts of Hurricane Sandy; so many drop-off points, so many collections, so many voices calling out for help!
All done by caring hands; hands that can slice an onion and make a hot meal; hands that can pick up cartons of water and piles of blankets then load it all up onto the bed of a pick-up truck; hands placed on a steering wheel of a car to drive it to those in need; hands that can hold a flashlight to lead someone out of darkness and hands that can reach into a pocketbook or a pant pocket and donate money.
Most importantly, those hands, the ones my daughter and I traced onto a single piece of paper-in hues of purple, pink, blue, brown, red and yellow, can reach out to someone in pain and give them a hug. Those same hands can clasp together in prayer for those who really need them answered. Those hands can make a whole lot of a difference in the world.
What started out as a fun activity to keep a child busy from yet another stormy day in New York City, where snow falls and icicles form on trees still covered with leaves, turned out to be a life lesson for me. That single piece of paper now hangs up on my refrigerator door, staring at me, challenging me to do my part. It’s a lesson I intend to continually learn, even after the memories of this terrible tragedy will have faded.