Hello again friends! Thanks for returning for this hopefully thought-provoking topic. As I write this, I want to let you know that I am going to be speaking in generalities. It may not apply to you, but I think we can see how this may apply to many in the world we live in. Please grab your shovels and your water bottles as we climb down into the trench today.
There is a term used when a child is undernourished, and does not grow and develop properly: “Failure to Thrive.” In general, babies who fail to thrive don’t receive or cannot take in, keep, or use the calories that would help them grow and gain enough weight. One of many causes that doctors have discovered cause this is lack of touch. Babies need touch to survive. It helps them grow, develop, adapt, trust, and feel secure and comforted. It decreases the probability of illnesses and promotes good health emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Touch helps babies bond to Mom, Dad, and other family members. What amazing powers touch has!
As we grow, often times the amount of touch we receive dwindles. We become big kids and think we don’t need comforted when we get injured. We don’t want our friends to see Mom or Dad giving us a hug either! How embarrassing! Then we hit the teenage years, with our attitudes, and looks to kill. Some days, the only time our parents want to touch us is to wring our brat necks! Many parents still show love, and still give us touch, but compared to our infant days, there is pretty much no comparison. After all, we don’t fit comfortably in their laps anymore. 🙂
Now we are into our adulthood. We might not see our family too often anymore. Mom might only be able to give us hugs once a year because she lives so far away. We may have had a falling out with our Dad, and no longer receive any type of touch from him at all. As an adult, we may have a significant other that we receive loving touch from. We possibly have good friends that we also receive touch from, the hugs when we greet, or when we are having a bad day, their arms around our shoulders while sitting together watching movies or sharing a laugh. Then there are times in our lives we may not have a significant other, or might be low in the friend department. What does our physical touch look like then?
There is the handshake when meeting someone new, the occasional brush of hands when paying for something, the accidental bump on a crowded street. In some cases, the touch in our life may have turned from positive to negative, i.e., an abusive relationship or a mate that ignores our needs, sexual harassment at school or in the workplace. With all the negativity in the world, we have been set on edge. What secret motive does that person have, or what horrible thoughts are going through their mind as they are attempting to touch us?
Think of the last time a stranger touched you. How did you feel? Now think of the last time that you touched a stranger. What caused you to do so? How was it received? I thought that I mostly enjoyed touch. I like to be hugged. I like to shake hands. Sometimes I like an arm around my shoulder. I have become more aware of myself these past few months, and I realize that I am not as comfortable with touch as I thought. I don’t feel comfortable with people walking directly behind me. I dislike when someone has their hand on my shoulder for an extended period of time. I feel unnerved when a hug continues after I have tried to pull away.
For the most part, a stranger’s touch just seems, well, strange! But what would this world be like if the touch of a stranger felt welcomed? Imagine if embraces and gentle slaps to the back or shoulder felt natural. Better yet, what would it be like to not question why someone touched you? The peace that we would feel from everyone’s healing touch would be overwhelming!
Jesus physically touched everyone He came in contact with. He healed with touch. He touched the untouchable and the unlovable. In Mark 8:22-25, we read of the blind man that was healed by Jesus’ touch. Touch is so vital in this story. Lack of sight increased the blind man’s sense of touch. Jesus lead him out of town with touch, healed him with touch, and comforted him with, you guessed it, touch. So this week, let us strive to be like Christ, and share positive and comforting touch.
Until next week, I love you.