Weekly Thought – April 13, 2021
Fred recognized the need to hug (and be hugged) later in life. He studied the research on the value of touch. He had large hands and enjoyed having his children, and grandchildren hold onto his fingers.
Hugs are Important
One of my favorite subjects is therapeutic touch. I’ve been working on it for several years. My interest began when I listened to the President of Sloan-Kettering address the American Management Association. “My father was a country doctor. He carried a little black valise. We know today there was not one thing in there that would heal anybody, but people got well because my Daddy put his hand on them and said, “You’re gonna get well.” There is an entire nursing association in New York City practicing therapeutic touch.
I did an interview for the University of Nebraska by telephone. It’s an interesting new technique. (Editor’s note: written long before internet). The professor calls a writer or a speaker, puts him/her on a conference call for an hour to answer questions from the class. In preparation they sent me the school magazine. There was a poem by Donna Swanson, on the subject of aging and touch.
It is said old people miss the tactile relationships with others because nobody thinks ( or wants) to touch them. When my Mother was 90 (she lived to be 93) she began showing her wrinkles. She was very stooped. I realized I had stopped touching her when I greeted her. Recognizing this, I began hugging her again and it made a great difference for her. Donna Swanson’s poem touched me because it struck me how grateful I was to relearn the lesson of touching my Mom.
Here are just a few lines of the poem entitled Minnie Remembers
“God, my hands are old; I’ve never said that out loud before, but they are. When did these slender, graceful hands become gnarled, shrunken claws?
When, God? How long has it been since someone touched me? Twenty years? Twenty years since I’ve been a widow. Respected, smiled at, but never touched. Never held so close that loneliness was blotted out…..God, why didn’t we raise the kids to be silly and affectionate as well as dignified and proper? They do their duty. They come to my room to pay their respects, but they don’t touch me.”
I was at Barkley Lodge in Kentucky at a laymen’s meeting. A small, unpretentious woman stood at the back, waiting for me to get through talking to other people. In speaking you always watch that. If somebody stands around they’ve something special to say. She walked up to me standing not even five feet tall, and looked up at me. “Would you hug me?” “You know I will.” I reached out and gave her a great big hug. As she walked off I said to myself, “How long has that hug got to last?” I knew the answer – a long time.
This week carefully consider: 1) Who in my family or friend circles needs a hug? 2) How can I train my children the importance of physical touch? 3) In light of COVID how can I express physical attachment while remaining wise?
Words of Wisdom: “It is said old people miss the tactile relationships with others because many do not think (or want) to touch them.”
Wisdom from the Word: “When worries threaten to overwhelm me, your soothing touch makes me happy.” (Psalm 94:19 NET Bible)