“Come into or be in contact with someone.”
It’s a whole love language.
A means of communication.
Hand shake. High five. Hug. Kiss.
I remember when we used to touch.
Free of worry.
Free of care.
Free of Corona.
2020 has been a bit of a touchy subject (buh dum tss). One thing it’s heavily highlighted to me is the importance of touch. Do you know the cheesy phrase “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”? It slaps differently when you’re experiencing it. I’m feeling it and I know that many of us do too.
On one of my “Lovely Lockdown Laid-back Afternoons”, I slipped into a daydream. My clown-like mind has this gift of being light-hearted in difficult situations. I couldn’t help but imagine the type of bedtime stories I’d tell my kids years from now. Bear with me:
Me: “Once upon a time in 2019, in a fresh-aired land without masks and hand sanitizers. A land where you could see a strangers’ bare face on your first encounter with them. In a time where mommy and daddy were ‘just friends’. A time when we couldn’t download food. In this wild time, there was a crazy phenomenon known as… touch”
Kid 1: (gasps)
Kid 2: (cries)
Kid 3: “mama what’s tush?”
Me: “Touch is when you can put your hand on someone else on purpose and not get arrested. Sometimes you could hold them with your body and they would hold you back, this was called a hug”.
All kids: “wooooow”
Me: (pulls out a throwback picture)
All kids: (shocked as if they’ve just seen a ghost)
Me: “Just look at them, bare-faced, skins out, teeth flashing”
(Shakes head in disapproval for the kids but smiles on the inside reminiscing of the good times).
This scenario playing in my head one Wednesday afternoon, while staring at the sky (potentially drooling) made me think deeply about what touch is in its essence.
The moment you touch someone, the receptors in your skin send a message to your brain, your brain acknowledges what happened and sends a message back to those receptors giving them permission to feel. Touch demands to be felt, whether consciously or subconsciously. Depending on the intensity and intention of the toucher, a specific, tailored message is sent to the touchee. The touchee then responds to this feeling with an “ouch”, a facial expression, reciprocation of a warm embrace, or an “ew get away from me!” (from your crush). Lol.
So mid daydream a thought comes, “Dude, how are you going to touch people? Especially now when you can’t literally touch them”. If you don’t know me, the first thing to note is that I’m a hugger. It’s my default response to happiness, sadness, and everything in between. That was my asset, my prominent love language, it spoke for me, it poured out my heart… it’s illegal and a thing of the past.
On this quest to find a way to touch lives I read the best answer book we have, the Bible. Jesus was big on touch. From Him touching people to people touching Him for healing. He knew just how to add His special touch to every situation. Someone who took Jesus’ strategy a step further was Peter (what a G!). Not only did the homie touch people but his shadow did too.
“Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.” – Acts 5:15 KJV
In a time and space where your physical presence is no longer as accessible as it used to be, how are you going to touch lives? How are you going to make those around you feel loved when your smile is literally masked? How will you make the tangible as potent, intangibly?
What will your shadow be?