Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I Need a Hug

I have literally read hundreds of books, articles, blurbs and quotes about singleness and I never once recall any of those hundreds of thousands of words addressing an unmarried person’s need for physical affection. And by physical affection, I am not referring to sex. I’m referring to a friendly hug, a kiss on the cheek, a hand on my shoulder.

I don’t know if this is an issue for other single people and I also realize that this might be an issue for married persons, but I know it’s an issue for me. And I’m single. So that’s my point of reference.

I don’t come from an overly “huggy” family, but we don’t skimp on affection, either. However, my mother is dead and the rest of my (biological) family lives in other cities, so access to their hugs is limited. Therefore, I’m at the mercy of my church family - my sisters and even brothers in Christ for some outward display of tenderness and friendship. If it weren’t for all my little friends under the age of twelve, I could go months without feeling the touch of another human being. Unless, that is, you include handshakes with those I deal with professionally. Personally, I don’t think they count.

My nephew and his wife recently welcomed their first child. My favorite picture of my great-niece is one where she is only a few hours old, sleeping with her mother's bare arms wrapped around her bare back, her soft cheek resting on her mother's bare shoulder. There is a look of total relaxation in her tiny young face. I can imagine the comfort and security she is feeling with that skin to skin sensation. Until a few hours before, all she knew was a total physical connection to her mother, but now she'll only experience it when her mother chooses. (She need not worry, though. I think her mom choose it alot. But that's for another blog)

God created us as sensual beings - that is, referring to our senses. He gave us sight, smell, speech, hearing, and feeling. We’ve got this amazing nervous system that is able to communicate simple touches to our brains and translate them in to messages of love. Often, when Jesus healed the sick, He touched them in the process. Now surely, being God, He could have healed them without actually touching them, so there must have been some other reason. Perhaps they needed the physical sensation of His love.

Both Peter and Paul speak of greeting others with a kiss. I’d settle for a simple pat on the back or hand on my arm. Now, I don’t expect my vast blog audience to rush me and sweep me off my feet with loving embraces the next time they see me. I don’t even expect a magic transformation of your normal physical reserve or reticence. I’m just asking you to maybe consider to possibly think that you might offer some physical display of affection to me or another sensory-deficient person. Take a chance. I might even hug you back...if I'm not too shy.

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