Everyone needs a helping hand every once in a while. And that helping hand can come from anywhere. Sure, there are some people who will adamantly say, “I got to where I am in life all by myself,” but I believe that to be foolish. We’re in this life together and we all receive a helping hand whether we know it or not.
In much the same manner, we often have opportunities to provide a helping hand. Some opportunities are clear and right in our face. Others are not as obvious and take a keen eye to see. We need to look for these opportunities, much like the piano master in this little story…
A mother, wishing to encourage her son’s progress at the piano, bought tickets to a performance by the great Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski. When the evening arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway waiting on the stage. Soon the mother found a friend to talk to, and the boy slipped away.
At eight o’clock, the lights in the auditorium began to dim, the spotlights came on, and only then did they notice the boy – up on the piano bench, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” His mother gasped in shock and embarrassment but, before she could retrieve her son, the master himself appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard.
He whispered gently to the boy, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side and improvised a delightful obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized with their blended and beautiful music.
In all our lives, we receive helping hands – some we notice, some we don’t. Equally we ourselves have countless opportunities to provide helping hands – sometimes we would like our assistance to be noticed, sometimes we don’t. Little of what we all achieve is without learning from others and without support from others and what we receive we should hand out.
From the time we are born until the time we pass on, we will receive many helping hands. We will also have many opportunities to help others. Like the master pianist in the story, we have a choice. I don’t think anyone in attendance would have been surprised if the master pianist refused to play while the boy was on stage. Masters of anything are often portrayed in movies and shows as being offended when something strange like this happens. But this master saw the opportunity to lift someone up…to join in and provide a helping hand, creating something beautiful for all to enjoy.
Every day, there are opportunities to lift people up…to provide that helping hand. In seizing these opportunities, we are given the chance to give back in thanks for all that we’ve received. You may not believe you’ve had much help, but I’m sure you’ve received more than you know. That help can be obvious sometimes, or so obscure you missed it. In either case, be thankful for the help you’ve received, whether you realized it or not.
Take the opportunity today, to provide a helping hand. You can decide whether you want it to be anonymous or known. Just take some time to go out of your way to do something nice for someone else. Provide them some help. It could be a donation of money or time. It could be an uplifting text message or letter that is supportive. Try to do this at least once a week. Even better, if you can provide a helping hand at least once a day.
Some have made a life out of helping others. Why not take a minute of your day and think of someone else? This is the Chicken Soup for the soul that allows you to receive much more than you could ever give.