A common response to me of those living alone during lockdown is that what they’re missing most is physical contact, a hug maybe. Some people seem to think that those of us who live alone are better adapted to lockdown and forget that our physical interactions with another a person only happen when we leave our homes. Even though most singles can now go out and may have been able to do so throughout lockdown, physical contact is still not possible unless you have been able to form a ‘support bubble’ and the other bubble members are willing to be touched.
What is it about touch, perhaps the least talked about of the five senses, certainly with regard to loss, that is so important to most of us? There are anthropological and psychological answers, but as I pose that question to myself, I’m not sure of the answer. A sign of love? A sign of reassurance? A sign that someone cares? A sign that I am not alone?
Many of the healing miracles of Jesus involved touch, either him touching the person or, as I shared in my blog the other day, the sick person touching Jesus. And Jesus can still touch us today. I know it’s not the physical touch we perhaps long for, but as we share our concerns with Jesus and seek to open our hearts to him, we can experience that sense of being held by him and of him helping us share those concerns. It’s a spiritual hug which we also all need.
28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11: 28-29)