The Power of Touch
When doctors are juggling my friend’s meds to find the right balance and she is feeling at her worst, she says, “It is like I’m floating backwards. I have no control.” She goes on to say that my holding her hand helps ground her, that I have become an anchor for her.
Maybe you have to become willing to become part of the suffering to hold a hand. When I’ve held a hand or I’ve seen someone else hold a hand at a bedside, I’ve always seen it as loving and caring, but I did not know holding a hand could ground the sick person.
Like a rope tethering a boat to the dock, the hand of love may keep a person connected mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Young children are wonderful at reaching for your hand. Connection. As a mother, I saw it as the way to protect my children when crossing a street or moving through foot-traffic. I thought it was about safety, but it was wider and deeper than that.
My mothering days have folded up like a tent, but I have friends, neighbors, grandchildren. I still have people to touch.
I remember studying about babies who were touched very little, and they failed to thrive. Research backs that up. I wonder if there’s any research on human touch with adults. Just from observation, older people seem to love having visitors, especially children and dogs. Rarely have I ever seen anyone offended by a handshake or handholding.
When someone is under medication and emotionally in a London fog, it is scary. At a time like that, what do people need? Probably touch. He or she needs to know love is in the same room. How can that happen? Maybe if your hand is holding a hand.
I’ve always heard the saying, “I’ll give you a hand.” And I’ve always thought of it as kindness and helpful. Never had it meant, “I’ll love you through this hard time. I’m here to ground you.” This is a new thought for me.
What did Jesus do to heal people? He touched them and/or said a few words. Think about it: If Christ is in us and we reach out and hold a hand, Christ IS touching that other person. Powerful thought. But then, I believe He can move mountains, too.
P.S. - I invite your response. There's a section below for comments. I thank you.
Photo by Jimmy Durmon at a neighbor’s home in Norfork, Arkansas, March 31, 2017.