One paper towel at a time

By Michelle Zirkle


Blood dripping, I yanked the paper towel from the roll and wrapped it around my hand the best I could. The glass candleholder had broken in my hand. I was used to performing first aid on my boys when they were young, but they have their own paper towels now—have the ability to take care of themselves.

Maybe I felt sentimental because I’d lost too much blood, but the silver paper towel holder seemed to be shinier than ever. It stood at regal attention, ready to serve any needy hand that reached out, not just the young ones.

The past few months, many hands are reaching for more help than a paper towel offers. Thousands of hands are reaching for help as tropical storm Irma blasts the South. Lending a helping hand is a prevalent theme when disasters shake our foundation like Hurricane Harvey did thousands of folks in Texas, but lending a hand to a single person is just as important as helping the masses. Each person in need feels the direct impact of that hand offering food or water or other assistance.

Each child feels the softness of a dry towel wiping away their tears. Each lonely senior feels the warm embrace of a hug. Each person’s pain is eased on an individual basis.

When the shiny Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, each person was pulled from the rubble by a caring hand. Each pot of soup was ladled into individual bowls for individual bellies. Each wound was soothed one bandage at a time. Firefighter hero from Middleport, Ohio, Alan Wallace, rescued victims from the Pentagon Building, one person at a time.

I look down at my blood-soaked paper towel, my injury seeming so minor compared to those in the path of torrential storms and terror-driven planes. Knowing the pain of those people was more intense than mine doesn’t make mine completely diminish, but does make me feel relieved that the cut on my hand only needs stitches and not an amputation.

I will focus on helping one person at a time, each day, no matter that the gigantic numbers of people hurt in cataclysmic events. I’ll contribute to the humanitarian needs of my society by comforting the masses, one paper towel at time.


By Michelle Zirkle


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