Monday, March 19, 2012

Touch, silence stretched out

With the absence of voice, touch has become my primary mode of communication.  A hand on a little shoulder to garner attention; fingers circled around wrists to slow movement and restrain the bounding-off that is inherent in children.   Hugs replace “I love you.”  Kisses instead of “have a good day.”  Holding hands for nearness, arms around shoulders for comfort, cuddling on laps is the stage for divesting the stories of the day. 

I have found that we laugh more on Mondays.  We are more connected.  There is more happiness in our day.  We more closely attend one another’s presence.  I have come to eagerly anticipate these days with fewer words and greater connections.

Yet, I am not usually the touchy one. 

I hug my children and kiss them; but in the busy flight of our non-Monday days, I don’t sit still with them on my lap much anymore.  And yet it is so obvious that they crave it.  They were made for it.  We all were.

Jesus, divinity incarnate, knew the desperate need in each person for touch.  As present before creation, he knew the tactile connection built into humanity (Colossians 1:15-20).  He healed the untouchables with his hands, restoring their connection to both community and the Divine.  He allowed his beloved friends to recline on his breast, washed their feet and allowed his to be washed as well.  Revelation promises that in the age to come, God will wipe every tear from every eye (7:17, 21:4).  Not merely dismiss these tears, not vaporize or impersonally dry them, or simply cause by supernatural power to stop. 


The action requires a hand placed on a cheek; a thumb drawn across the most tender part of the face, a gentle caress across the delicate skin beneath the eyes.   The image given is God, touching every believer, personally and physically removing the physical outpouring of pain and sadness, healing the heart beneath.

Touch to heal.   

Today, I am thinking about the people for whom touch is abhorrent.  Those for whom touch has been hijacked and perverted; twisted and mauled into something vile, something best avoided at all costs.  We were all made to be touched, to touch others; but fallen humanity ruins even this.  I am praying for those for whom touch is repulsive.  Those for whom touch is frightening.  Those for whom touch is prayed against.

I am also praying, today, for those who are desperate for human contact, for the tactile connection to another beating heart.  For children who craved hugs, yet do not receive them.  For individuals who are wrapped up in their own worlds, with fortresses around their heart and person, growing bitter and stale as their days are spent without personal contact.  For couples who have fallen into a pattern of polite conversation and icy distance, the warmth of the other’s touch a fleeting memory.  For the widowed, who float about in a world of people with no tangible connection to comfort.   

Is there someone in your sphere that is screaming into the silence for touch?  Someone who literally aches for human contact?  There are times when words aren’t enough.   Sometimes, cupped hands, an embrace, held for what is societally prescribed as too long, ministers to greater depths of the soul the most eloquent litany.  Sometimes we must still our tongues and offer our arms.  For the deepest hurts require the greatest connections.

Today, I will begin to use my touch as Christ did: to comfort, to heal, to connect.  I will push myself outside of my barriers and give what has been given to me, what is needed in a sterile and disconnected world.  I will close my mouth, open my arms and let love prevail.     



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