Touch. We are born with an innate need for it, calling for it, reaching out for it as soon as we are able. I remember what a glorious feeling it was to pick up one of the boys when he was crying and have him calm almost instantly at my touch. (No, they did not ALWAYS calm instantly, let me make that perfectly clear before I have to start ducking tomatoes flung by mothers weary of pacing the floor with crying infants. Trust me, I did my share of pacing, mostly with Indy.) Studies have shown that infants deprived of skin contact lose weight, become ill and may even die.
Young children give and receive touch so easily. Gates will snuggle, but Indy will fling himself full force into my arms, wrapping himself around me with abandon. Of course, he will also run into me at full speed nearly knocking me over, but that’s another story. I repeatedly find that they want touch, even small touches throughout the day, tickling them with my hair, tapping their nose, a brief touch of their hand.
Somehow most of us grow out of thinking that we need touch in our lives. Or, when realizing we need it, we are afraid to ask for it.
One of the most wonderful things my husband can do for me when I have had a long day and am feeling down, tired, drained and ready to throw in the towel is to just hold me. Being a man, however, he doesn’t usually pick up on that right away and there have been days that I have spent just longing to be held. Since he’s never going to learn to read my mind, I’ve had to learn to be assertive in asking, and lately I have found myself saying just a little more often “I need a hug.”
What a wonderful thing it is to be held, to feel secure in the arms of someone I trust. Some days I don’t ever want it to stop, I just want to stand there in the circle of his embrace forever. It calms me, revives me, brings my world just a little more under control.
In the Bible study I am currently doing at church I’m learning again that God is like that. Always ready, always waiting to hold us in the safety of his embrace. Whenever we are hurting, whenever we are tired, whenever we are lonely, he is there, ready to hold us, ready to calm us.
One of my all-time favorite songs is from the late Rich Mullins, titled “Hold Me Jesus”. The songwriter declares “You have been King of my glory, won’t you be my Prince of Peace?” There are days when God’s glory is evident, and there are days when we just need to be held, when the questions overwhelm, when life falls apart, when we don’t know what the next step is going to be.
Oh Lord, let me rest in the circle of your embrace today. Let your peace fill me and calm me, even in the midst of my busy life. When questions and doubts take over, let me turn to your arms. Hold me when the night is dark. Hold me when I’m tired. Hold me fast.