I’m back and thankful for another opportunity to guest-write for FastPray. Having just come through the marketing day for love, I’ve gotten a fresh reminder of my single status, so I’m armed and ready to discuss.
Two years ago, I took a journey with my laptop to an Italian Villa nestled in the trees of south central Pennsylvania (not exactly where you were expecting, right?) to do some writing about singleness. During my stay, the gracious host invited me to have afternoon tea with her so we could discuss my writing. As we sat in the grand salon having tea, I was nearly brought to tears by one question she launched, with little warning. I was shocked by my response because it wasn’t an insensitive question, and I tried desperately to pull it together. After all, afternoon tea is not the place for water works.
I don’t even remember the direction of the conversation at the time, or the exact wording of the question she posed, but I do remember how it uncovered a tender place in my heart I didn’t even realize existed. In that moment I suddenly felt exposed, weak, and without an answer. Not exactly the warm fuzzy feeling you want from afternoon tea. The Brits certainly would not approve of such emotional displays during tea.
So are you ready for the question that cut me to the quick? I don’t even know most of you, and this isn’t the sort of thing that you just blurt out in conversation with people you hardly know and it may seem a little awkward at first, but I believe it’s something that should be talked about more.
Ok, so the question went something like…
“Who touches you?”
Before you think this perverse, let me explain. She was referring to pats on the back of camaraderie, the touches to the arm for affirmation, an embrace to make you feel accepted, or a hand on the shoulder that says “you are not alone.” The touch of another human being that says you are loved for being you.
Not being a huggy, feely type of person, I never really thought about the fact that I could go weeks without touching someone else. I mean it’s not like you want to go around the office hugging people to fill your touch quota for the week, that’s just weird.
So as I sat there with my china cup in hand, fighting back tears, I was shocked at the realization of my deficient touch quota and embarrassed by the need that she exposed. I’ve heard stories of babies in orphanages that go without the touch of a caretaker and the devastating effects the lack of touch has on their development, but I never made the association beyond infancy.
I just did a word search in my bible app for “touch,” do you know how many times Jesus healed people by touching them? A lot. Imagine being one of the societal outcasts with leprosy or the woman with the blood issue, where no one was allowed to touch them, and Jesus comes along and lays a finger on them. He touched them, actually touched them, what a healing!
So here we are in the wake of red-heart mayhem, and I ask you: “who touches you?”
If you find yourself in the deficient category, I suggest you do something about it. Volunteer in the church nursery or retirement home. Baby-sit your nieces and nephews more—they are fantastic hug-givers. One day my three-year-old nephew attacked me in a parking lot with goodbye kisses all over my face. My brother was quick to point out it was the most action I had gotten in years (yeah, he’s special), and while true, kisses from the little people in my life mean the world to me.
It is my hope and prayer for you to reflect on your own life, but also be aware of how you can impact the lives of others through a simple hug or pat on the shoulder.
Michelle is a guest contributor. She currently writes for Doing Life Single, a blog to discuss the practical side of living single. From cooking to vacationing, being single presents both opportunities and challenges. To join the discussion, visit:www.doinglifesingle.com