The Touch of a Hand

(Previously published in Purpose, March 1, 1992)

The pounding of the keys echoed in the plush office as my boredom began to set in. The balancing of millions of dollars to the penny had become a rehearsed, meaningless task. The prestige and pay were excellent, but my heart was not content.

I desperately needed a break. The tension of the end-of-the-month reports and my night classes had become an exasperating combination.

A friend and I sought relief at a nearby ice skating rink. The air was extremely cold as I skated freely on the ice, leaving an etched trail behind me. I was trying to teach my inexperienced friend some of the finer details, like standing. He had found comfort near the side railing, and I was trying to coax him to the middle when a little girl came up to me and tugged on my coat sleeve. She tugged twice. I turned and looked down.

“Will you skate around with me?” she pleaded, gazing at me with her big, blue eyes.

“Sure,” I eagerly agreed.

She reached out with her tender, warm hand and grasped my hand. The wind pushed her blond pigtails back as we skated around the rink giggling and laughing. We had skated around twice when four boys began to skate along with us.

My friend was still making his way around the rink via the rail and looked on at my newly acquired friends as we skated by.

“Hey, what are you anyway, the Pied Piper or something?” he shouted. I smiled. I glowed. I swelled. An indescribably warm feeling had come over me. My love for children had once again emerged. It had been buried like a sunken treasure chest, one which had been rediscovered.

Although I retired for the evening and found myself behind my desk the following morning, I was unwilling to forget the sense of satisfaction and warmth that had flushed through me. I was faced with a decision – a big decision. Do I give up security, comfort and money for the unknown? Do I want to face working full time and school full time as well? Do I quit my job to go into a field which will pay substantially less money? If black-and-white answers were to be found, that would paint yet another picture. But unfortunately the more questions I pondered, the grayer the picture grew.

The decision was probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make. It started very simply – with a touch of a hand. Unfortunately, she will never know how much she touched my life.

About Tina Donovan

Tina Donovan, M.Ed., PC has dedicated her life both professionally and personally to improving the lives of children. From volunteering as a youth leader to developing a non-profit youth organization, her focus has been on providing opportunities to children enabling them to discover and develop their own unique talents.

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