holding hands

We often go for long periods of time not giving much consideration to the power that we hold, quite literally, in our hands. The power of touch, the simple act of reaching out and touching another human being, is commanding. The act of bodily contact with another human being is expressed throughout history and religion – it symbolizes power, Godliness, healing, love, sympathy, friendship, compassion.

In many religions the power of touch or as it is sometimes referred to “the laying on of hands” symbolizes the passing of power (as in the ordination of priests) or spirit (as in Confirmation). In many different phases of thought, the power of touch play a significant role in the power of healing. There are those faith healers that claim freedom from illness by the laying on of hands. There are theories that touch is instrumental to the wellbeing of individuals.

Yesterday as I lay in bed dying (okay so maybe I’m overexaggerating just a little but seriously considering it as an alternative to vomiting my brains out) I yearned for someone to come and rub my back or hold my hand.

I remember how when my grandmother was in the hospital dying, the simple act of touching her provided both of us with some kind of comfort.  Babies settle almost immediately when they are held, a crying child wrapped in his or her parent’s arms can be soothed. Touch is so instrumental to to the basic elements of our being – a kiss – an embrace – holding hands.

We should never underestimate the power that our touch has over another human being. Nor should we be stingy with how we distribute signs of affection, kindness, concern. We, as Americans, are generally not a touchy society. Yet there are times we should remember that the simple act of touch welds a great deal of power.

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