The Comfort of Physical Touch

Mark 8:22: “They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.”   

About a month ago our littlest one developed croup.  He has not been sick since before his first birthday, so he does not really remember what it feels like to feel bad.  So, from Friday night through Tuesday, the only comfort he wanted, especially at night, was to lay in my arms.  The only way he was able to rest peacefully was with his head securely tucked underneath mine, wrapping his little arm up around my chin onto my cheek.  Then he would fall soundly asleep until morning, coughing intermittently. 

One could say it was the angle his body was in that allowed him to sleep so well during the night but I choose to believe it was the power of physical touch that brought him the comfort he craved, allowing his body to relax enough to start the healing process. 

All my children have been that way.  They have reached for my hand from the back seat when they were upset during a car ride, crawled up on my lap after having a bad day, or even just walked into my open arms for a loving embrace “just because.”  Those have been ways that I have been able to communicate to them, without words, how much they truly matter. 

It does not matter their age, either.  I need to remember that my preteen still needs physical touch as much as my elementary school aged and toddler do, whether or not it is asked for. 

As important as physical touch is in a family, it is just as important to those that are hurting.  How many times have you been with a friend who is suffering a loss or tragedy in their lives and find yourself at a loss for words?  Sometimes reaching over and touching their hand, enveloping them in a hug, or just sitting with them helps to ease the pain more than anything you can say.  Sometimes your presence is enough to comfort, to offer hope, to let someone know you care.

So today, as I am reminded by how significant a role touch plays on our lives, let us all remember that when someone is hurting, sometimes words are inadequate, but touch is still very powerful.  That gentle pressure of your hand may make all the difference in the world to ease someone else’s pain.

One Reply to “The Comfort of Physical Touch”

  1. Cheri,

    I couldn’t help but think about my cat, Hairy. He has become such a lap kitty over the past year. I just love holding him. I’m not sure who enjoys the touch more — me or him.

    I also thought about Harlow’s Rhesus monkey experiment where he demonstrated the importance of physical touch — even if it comes from a terry cloth model.

    I agree that touch is often the best form of comfort.

    Have a Victorious Day!

    Marianne Clements

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