Touch is So Important

Touch is so important. This is something else many had to go without during the pandemic this past year. Research shows healthy touch is good for every one of all age groups. Babies thrive when held. The elderly also thrive in environments where they get plenty of interaction and healthy touch. Even school aged children respond positively to healthy touch – a gentle hand on their arm, a reassuring arm around their shoulder (a one-armed hug), or a high five.

Touch has always been one of my love languages. I loved cuddling our children when they were younger, I love cuddling up to my husband at church or while we watch TV. Holding hands in the car, on walks, or in the store is another favorite form of touch for me.

We have a dog and a bearded dragon. Yes, even our bearded dragon lets us know when she wants to be “cuddled.” I’ll put her on my chest and she’ll climb up so that her head is resting underneath my chin. She’ll even lick me. At first, I’ll admit, before I realized how sweet she truly was, I was afraid she would bite me. But no, she just likes the warmth of that position and will lick me to let me know she’s happy.

Our dog is a cuddler, too. If I’m working too much during the week, and finally get a chance to sit down at night on the couch, he’s right there, on my lap, wanting my attention. Eventually, when he’s been satisfied and gotten his love tank filled, he’ll move down to the floor or over slightly, but he loves being right up next to one of the family.

Lately, I’ve been trying to intentionally focus on the experience of petting my dog and watching how he enjoys being scratched behind his ears, or getting a belly rub.

I’ve been enjoying the hugs I get from my kids, my husband, and savoring them longer than usual instead of rushing ahead to the next thing.

We “touch” those we love with more than just our hands. We touch them with our words and our actions. How are your words and actions speaking to your loved ones?

Family. Friends. Four-legged family members. May I never take for granted the times I get to spend with those I love. The times I get to share God’s love with those He has blessed me with, and may I be quick to apologize and do better next time when I’ve been harried, angry, or unintentional. I want to be remembered as gentle and loving, not just with my physical touch for those I love but also when I touch with my words, my actions, and my facial expressions.

© Cheri Swalwell 2021

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