I’m a hugger. Been that way for a long time. I’m told I’m good at it (aka encouraging and comforting but not creepy). I always ask. I find non-huggers and side-huggers (side hugs are from satan) to be weirdos. One guy would run out of the room whenever I brought up the subject in our group. Even so, I respect that people have their own ways and so I don’t make a big deal about it.
The other day, a friend sent me this article: How a Lack of Touch is Destroying Men. I was immediately intrigued. From a mental health perspective, I think the author has something important to say because he relates it to isolation. I encourage you to check it out but here’s a little excerpt and then a deep thought.
“In American culture, we believe that men can never be entirely trusted in the realm of the physical… Accordingly, it has become every man’s job to prove they can be trusted, in each and every interaction, day by day and case by case… by foregoing physical touch completely in any context in which even the slightest doubt about our intentions might arise.
And where does this leave men? Physically and emotionally isolated. Cut off from the deeply human physical contact that is proven to reduce stress, encourage self esteem and create community. Instead, we walk in the vast crowds of our cities alone in a desert of disconnection. Starving for physical connection. We crave touch. We are cut off from it. The result is touch isolation.”
The author ends the article with the simple sentence: “Touch is life.”
One of the powerful experiences that the Bible communicates is that Jesus touched people. Sadly, he is often presented stoically, distance, and unapproachable. In The Gospel of Matthew by The Visual Bible, Jesus is portrayed warm and friendly – I believe it’s the most accurate and realistic movie version of Jesus.
In the Good News, there is one time when a leper comes to Jesus and asks if he is willing to heal him. Keep in mind that this person would not have been touched or even treated humanely for a long time. But Jesus is more than willing and he touches the man! To me, this is Jesus not just healing the physical ailment but the heart.
How about you? What role does touch play in your life? Have you figured out touch or are you in isolation?