Holding HandsAudrey was telling me about her third day as a second grader. I asked if anything had not gone as expected and she shared, “I took the new girl to the nurse.” I asked her to tell me about it.

While licking her Popsicle, Audrey related, “We were playing on the playground and Maddy-the-new-girl scraped her knee and was crying. I went over and said, “You need to tell the teacher.” She kept on crying and said, “I don’t know what to do.” I said, “Hold my hand. I will take you to the teacher.” Maddy-the-new-girl didn’t want to go. I told her, “If you hold my hand, I won’t let go.”

Audrey walked Maddy to the teacher and then to the nurse’s office for a Band-aid. Audrey concluded her story with, “She’s new, Mom, and she didn’t know we would take care of her; so I held her hand.”

Holding hands in sadness and joy is what friends, ministers, and chaplains do. We believe God can take care of us, and we believe that holding on to each other will make the situation more bearable. Often we don’t trust in the power of presence. When the pain or the hurt overwhelms, holding a hand seems like too small of a gesture. However, the small acts of kindness soothe the soul.

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Gandalf shares his belief in the courageous quest of the Dwarves. Gandalf tells the Lady of Lothlorien, “It is the ordinary folks who keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love keep the light strong.”

In our ministries and lives, it is the ordinary people who carry the light for us. It is the friend who offers to watch the baby so you and your spouse can have dinner together. It is the minister who calls the day before your medical procedure. It is the Sunday school teacher who welcomes you with a smile. Ordinary, everyday acts of kindness keep the light strong. So, don’t discount the power of showing up and holding a hand. You are keeping the darkness at bay.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.