Monday, February 20, 2012

The power of touch

A long time ago I heard someone say, "There's no such thing as sidewalk rage."

You separate people in cars, and they are disconnected and anger is fueled instead of squashed. The same thing happens online. On email. On FaceBook. On Twitter. There is a disconnect that can be fatal to a positive interaction.

On a sidewalk, however ... you bump into someone and there is a connection. Immediate feedback. Reminder of the humanness in front of you. Eye contact. Voice. Touch. Quick repair. Everyone moves on.

Even waiting in line at the grocery store creates much less angst than waiting in line in traffic. People in the line begin connecting, feel comradery. They are frustrated together, and that eases the ... well ... frustration!

Today I was really put out with one of my kids. I have been the punching bag for them quite a bit lately. I had helped to create an invisible wall between us. I knew it was there. Heck, the drywall and decor were going up!

So, today I did the exact opposite of what I wanted to do. I walked over and took their hand. I held it while we talked. I made eye contact. It softened me. It softened them. I got my first smile in four days.

It is magical.

It has power.

And yeah, I'm mad that it was so magical, because I didn't want to do it. Yet, I can't deny the role it played in bringing connection and healing. I just made myself because I knew it was best and right. I practiced doing the very thing I ask my kids to do.

And the magic all started with just holding hands.


Erin said...

Good reminder! Thank you.

Medkid said...

My friend used to call holding hands "fifth base". Forget sex, holding hands was the ULTIMATE base. He fully believed in the power of holding hands. :) Being single sometimes it strikes me how little I am touched, which then reminds me how little my patients who are elderly and live alone are touched. A gentle touch to the shoulder, the hand, whatever seems okay I will do to cross that empty divide. I hope to learn osteopathic manipulation so I have a way to heal my patients with touch unlike the touch devoid practice of allopathic medicine.

When I am touched it's like my nerve endings explode. A hug is equivalent to a shot of a crazy drug. I am not certain human beings are supposed to live in a land devoid of touch even though I've adapted.

It brings up a curious question about God's purpose for us does it not? Are we created for touch? To touch and be touched? If so, how is it so many of us leave untouched lives? On a long drive to a satellite clinic this week I was stumbling through the radio and heard the five Ps of why Christians are supposed to marry. All well and good...unless you are a 27 year old medical student called by God to pursue primary care without a prospect of a husband in sight. Peaceful about this fact I'm often challenged by Christian culture on the matter. Woe to the "weaker vessel" (according to the preacher) who has no mate to provide.

Christian culture is a tricky thing. And that is why my faith has nothing to do with Christian culture, because I'll never fit their mold with my crazy single ways working in the world of men. And why touch as a beautiful part of relationship does not have to have anything to do with being married ("safe" touch of course). Though touch within marriage does fit in with your February theme. :) Okay enough of my ramblings. Thanks for your awesome post. Just another example of how vulnerability and love wins even if it is way crappy to get to the point where we let it sometimes!

Anonymous said...

To the poster above: Thank you! I did volunteer work with cancer patients. One of the best learning experiences I had and treatments we provided is touch therapy. Healing touch. My second husband died of lung cancer at just 45...his wife needed touch too. The day a social worker at the hospital came to hug me, just out of the blue as I had never met her before, was the day I didn't feel quite so alone in that journey. Again, thanks. Brenda.

Anonymous said...

OH, oh, oh! Thanks Christine too!!

About me said...

Great post! I'll have to rememeber it when my kiddos start to drive me madd. :) I love your blog and your yiutube channel as well. I blogged about you in my Foster Care Resouce page on my blog. You're such an inspiration Christine!

jmc said...

So very true! Thanks for reminding me to take the time to really connect with those around me!

Kimberly said...

Don't forget to hug your kid today!! I 'll try to remember to hug mine tomorrow. love ya