michelle nicole photography

michelle nicole photography

In the Hands of Time

The older I get, the more I become like my daughter!

Perpetually late!!

Since the day she was born; she has marched to the tic-tock of her own internal clock, which I am convinced has never been synchronized with the Greenwich Meantime cuckoo.

For years, I have observed my “Little Alice” dashing about in Mad Hatter fashion unsettling teacups in her wake preparing for her day. Always arriving to her destination with a smile, impeccably dressed and fashionably late despite being told the arrival time is some 30 minutes prior to the actual start of the engagement.

(I think she’s onto us!)

Despite my years of incessant nagging said daughter, I find myself perpetually late, dashing about as I attempt to squeeze as much as I can into every single second of each minute of every hour, day after day. Please do not misconstrue: my social engagements do not overflow my calendar! I am not that popular, however, having found value in a pain management technique called Distraction, which extols the virtues of busyness: I thusly attempt to keep my hands busy; and, because my hands have become so busy, there are not enough hours in each day for the things they have found to do. Oh, now I am beginning to sound like one of Lewis Carroll’s characters!

There are many alternative pain management strategies available to help divert one’s attention from pain: relaxation, biofeedback, visualization/imagery and distraction to name only a few; of these I have found distraction to be the most useful for me. The premise is that the brain can only focus its attention on so many areas at one time, so if the patient focuses attention away from pain, and on say, a television program, a book, needlework, music or a conversation (this includes prayer); the brain perceives the pain less.

While I love music, reading, and chatting on the phone, (I am a woman who feels that it is essential to utilize her entire allotment of 20,000 words per day), my preferred distraction is to spend time, in some form or another, using my hands to touch the lives of others. You see, after recuperating from 18 surgeries, I understand the value and importance of a single hour in the life of a chronically ill person.

Consider this:

An hour of chemotherapy or radiation is one hour closer to recovery


An hour to someone suffering a terminal illness is one more hour to say a lifetime of good-byes.

 An hour spent holding the old and wrinkled hand of the family patriarch or matriarch can be a joyous time of historical enlightenment.


An hour spent by the side of a widow or widower, loving hands wiping the tears that fall, is like a lifetime strolling together down memory lane.

An hour spent holding a newborn is an hour of much needed rest, and like a full 8 hours of sleep to a weary mother


 An hour with hands spent helping to bathe and dress someone with Arthritis, or another crippling disease,  is an hour of less frustration for one whose hands can no longer tie or zipper.

An hour spent in front of a mirror, hands adjusting a new wig on a smooth head restores months of self-confidence


An hour waiting by a stylist’s chair preparing to shave the head of those standing in solidarity cements a lifetime of friendship.

An hour baking cookies or preparing a meal is a gourmet dinner and like a night out for someone recovering from surgery


An hour spent writing a letter of encouragement, or a card sealed with love and posted with hands that had folded in prayer for the recipient, brings hours of joy when viewed from the mantle.

Recently, I have been the recipient of such comfort, arriving unexpectedly, but at the perfect time, not late at all, just when I most needed the support. Many hands, who though busy, took the time to fill my mailbox and in-box with well wishes, loving thoughts and words of encouragement. All thanks to my “Little Alice”, who has learned the value of an hour; by holding the hand of her mother while she wiped the tears of said mother, strolled with her down memory lane, baked for her, tied her shoes, gathered the hair as it fell from her head and kissed the pain away.

 So dear ones, I challenge you; how will you use your hands to comfort someone in the time you have today?