Last summer on a cross-country flight, I watched the movie, Five Feet Apart. Two young people with cystic fibrosis meet and fall in love during a hospital stay. “CF patients are strictly kept six feet apart to reduce the risk of cross-infection, as contracting bacterial infections from other CF patients can be dangerous – even life-threatening.” As I cried throughout the movie, my heart literally broke at the thought of not being able to touch someone you loved. I could never have imagined that less than a year later I would be told, along with all America, to keep six feet away from everyone. (Disclaimer: Please don’t take this reference to the movie as a recommendation since some of the content goes against biblical views. I highlight the movie to show how affected I was by the thought of not being able to touch people.)
Earlier this year as I tentatively entered a room for an emotionally tense meeting, I was offered a hug. The simple gesture immediately began distilling the tension in me. At the conclusion of the long but successful meeting, hugs were once again shared all around confirming the love between all the participants in a way that words are inadequate to convey.
I could go on with more examples of how touch has been invaluable in my life and the significance of a hug. Can you think of occasions in your own life where touch has communicated more than mere words ever could?
While in quarantine, three people at my relatively small church have lost their fathers. I have offered no hugs of comfort. A lady in Florida lost her 39-year-old husband to COVID-19 and was not able to say goodbye. She was not even allowed in the hospital. The author of a book that I own and love died in New York from COVID-19 a week ago. His wife and son stood six feet apart at the funeral. My heart broke.
I am concerned about the coronavirus, but I am also concerned about the lack of touch. I found this article from 2018 titled Why Physical Touch Matters for Your Well-Being interesting. Looking forward to the time when people once again engage in the priceless act of touching.