I am part of the “Me” generation, a generation that has been described as selfish, preoccupied, distracted, and egocentric…among other things.
And I have been guilty of living up to every single one of those characteristics.
But there are times when I rise above it.
And when I do, I want to believe that a little trait of the “Me Generation” is striped away. I would like to hope that a fraction of my unsightly self-centeredness disappears, never to rear its ugly head again.
In desperate times, there are hands that rise to the call. Even hands, like my own, that most often think of personal needs and the needs of my own tight circle of friends and family.
This weekend, I witnessed what can happen when hands let go of the material, the insignificant, the unimportant, to grasp what really matters.
This weekend, I witnessed what becomes of hands when they come together and reach out outside their inner circle to those in despair.
They become Healing Hands.
Because when tragedy strikes your backyard, a cold harsh reality hits you between the eyes and breaks your heart in half.
Suddenly you realize the difference between “us” and “them,” is a matter of five miles, is a slight change in wind direction, is the placement of your home.
With a frightening realization you discover the difference between “us” and “them” is a radical cancer cell, a clogged artery, a misjudged runway, a reckless driver, or a deadly undertow.
You realize the difference between “us” and “them” is simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
You realize it could have just as easily been “us,” instead of “them,” standing in utter despair and shock wondering where life as you once knew it has gone.
Your only prayer, your only saving grace, comes in the form of a healing hand.
And despite what you might think, a healing hand does not require extensive effort, excessive monetary funds, or even a large amount of time.
In fact, if one hand reaches out in some small way to help, the results can be astounding.
If one hand expresses care and concern to one single person, the impact can be immeasurable.
In a small neighborhood with limited, sporadic, and in some cases, non-existent electronic communication or power, this is what healing hands can do.
Because of these healing hands, a mother had her first meal in three days.
A hungry baby finally received a bottle of formula.
A traumatized child held a stuffed animal and cried.
A pair of shoes was placed on a battered pair of feet that had gone for days without.
A father who used his body to protect the lives of his family was given new clothes.
Someone received a bar of soap, batteries for their depleted flashlight, clean diapers, hand wipes, a chance to quench his thirst, a chance to catch her breath, a chance to see a brighter day ahead, a chance to see they are not forgotten.
And because of these healing hands, there were tears. Lots of tears. Grown men and teenage boys wept at the sight of seven truckloads packed full of supplies given by people they had never even met.
And as we stood side by side in prayer with those who had endured sights and sounds no human being should ever have to bear, I thought to myself: This could be me standing here wondering how I will ever get my life back.
This time it is not me, but it is my brother. It is my sister. It is my neighbor.
And there is no question what I must do.
I am simply the messenger on this journey to grasp what really matters. And by the grace of God, I have this message to give:
No matter how close or how far you live from destruction, disaster, poverty, homelessness, desolation, disease, and pain, there is someone within arm’s length who needs your healing hands.
Put down your cell phone, your remote control, your to-do list. Set aside your schedule, your calendar, and your list of daily activities.
Set aside your own agenda and your own needs; let a tiny part of that “Me Generation” that lives inside all of us completely fall away.
Let go of the daily distraction that we are so easily fooled into thinking MATTERS and instead go Hands Free and…
Hold someone up for air.
Hold someone who can’t stand.
Hold someone into the loving light of hope.
Hold someone in the grasp of your healing hands.
Because there is a very thin line between “us” and “them.”
And one day, one terrible, devastating unforgettable day, you might just wake up and find yourself on the other side.
And I pray that a healing hand will reach for you, my friend.
A personal note from the Hands Free Mama:
My source of communication since Wednesday has been sporadic, but at certain times, I have been able to receive messages and phone calls of care and concern. And although I haven’t been able to respond to each one personally, I want you to know something: Your concern and well wishes matter more than I can ever express in words. In so many ways, you have let me know that I matter to you. And that is all any of us really want in life, just to know we matter. I will never forget every single one of you who reached out your healing hands to my family, my state and to me. Thank you. Thank you.
I will be in touch personally with those of you who have asked for a specific family to be an “angel” to once I get those specifics and regain Internet connection to my home. The Angel Impact lives on in you.