A few years ago a new friend of mine shared with me that even though she had recently connected to a personal relationship with God, there were still moments she wished she could see Him and even feel Him. There were times when she felt so lonely that she just wished she could feel a hug from God.
Not sure what to do and noticing I was the only person near her, I hugged her.
As I hugged her, a thought came through my mind. I encouraged her that the next time she felt like she needed a hug to look for someone else who needed one.
Every time I have hugged someone, they have always hugged me back. (Other than my grandfather, but he was from a different era). Hugging represents a small example of the principle Jesus shared that “when we lose our lives in serving others, we find our lives.”
Hugging can bring healing.
I remember hugging a young man at a youth camp as he struggled to come to grips with the pain of never knowing his father.
I had some friends who offered “free hugs” at the Hollywood Halloween parade. So many of the people there were shocked since they were used to dozens of protestors who came to denounce their lifestyles and costumes. A giant line formed to “win” the prize of a hug.
A friend of mine mentioned she had been in Los Angeles for 4 days without experiencing any human contact. As a result, she found herself struggling with loneliness and depression.
I remember being hugged by a friend of mine as we struggled to cope with the tragic possibilities as our newborn sons struggled to survive in the hospital. (Miraculously both are now doing fine). In that moment, I needed that hug.
Too often we assume that the people around us must have someone taking care of them or looking after them. In reality, too many people go through the day not experiencing even a glimpse of kindness.
Today, I am going on a hugging spree. How about you? 🙂
Great post Eric. I have also discovered power in the hug. Have one friend (niece) that I look forward to a weekly hug at our church gatherings. Another will seek me out & hug until she is quite literally refueled. My young daughter & son call this “soaking.” That’s what we’re doing, soaking in the love of another.
I was once at a conference at Saddleback when we were told to hug five people we didn’t know. I looked round and was horrified to see a very large American in shorts lumbering towards me with his arms wide open.
I extended my hand for a shake, he said “Aw come on” To which I replied, “I am Scottish, I haven’t even hugged 5 people I do know! My wife thinks its a special day when she gets a hug. So you are getting a hand shake!” 🙂
Ironically, I am not a natural hugger either, James. Could be the result of being part Scottish and part German. 🙂
The other day I shook hands with a young woman from church and then watched everyone else with me give her a hug. I am working at it too!
Eric I think there is a serious point here. When I came out to the States the other students laughed at me because I was reluctant to hug on the first day, uptight Scot. There was method in my madness, to me at least a hug is a sign of deep friendship not casual acquaintance or a sign of loving support. My question to my American friends was if you hug every one how do you signal to people that you have a strong friendship with them? Here we go from handshake to hug to signal that. So when you get a hug from this Scotsman it means something more than I have got over my emotional repression
Hugs are fun but that aside…The assumption that others are cared for is one the most detrimental set-backs in furthering the story of hope and redemption.
The other being that someone else is doing it.
Looking forward to meeting you at the Idea Camp.
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