Friday, March 10, 2017

Power of Touch -

This week I've had the blessing of counseling several clients who have terminal illnesses. And interestingly, the one thing they've all commented on is the loss of being touched. They've been poked and prodded, pricked, pinched, lanced, but not touched.

When I was a young mother I remember telling my husband, after he came home from work, wanting a hug, a snuggle, that I was "all touched out." I had given all of my touches to the kids, saving none for him, and having none to give him.

There's differences between medical and care-giving touch, giving touch with wanting something in return, and giving touch with the goal of only giving, no receiving.

I have to say I've been on the end of medical touch and giving touch (or receiving from a giver), more often than I have been on the giving (or receiving) of no motive touch.

Until Scott. His touch tingles my body, soothes me, electrifies me, warms me, calms me, and heals me. His touch has no motive (well, most of the time :)), and his giving is pure energy.

I remember our first touch - we were in his car, our second date, I turned my left shoulder toward his right shoulder, lightly put my hand on his shoulder, which was covered with a heavy coat, and at that very minute I felt such strong powerfully gently energy, that I knew I was a goner. His touch fed me then, and it continues to feed me.

During my cancer treatment and these 4 years post-treatment, I've struggled with touch. Seems as if my body is touched out, again. I have nothing to give in return, and I've been on overload of being examined. I hunger for the warmth of the human touch, while at the same time recoiling from it - what is wanted in return - blood, urine, examination, etc.

Yet - as I've chaplained, the one thing I can give, that few other chaplains (particularly male) can give is touch. I can wipe tears, hold a hand, give a hug, touch a shoulder, cuddle a cryer, hold the weak, the sad, the worrying, the despondent, the mourner.

There are non-physical touches as well - sincere eyes, complete awareness, devoted attention, a smile, a nod, listening ears.

And when I do touch - I give. I give fully and freely, without an ounce of thought of myself. And although I feel the energy move from me to those I touch, surprisingly, I'm never "touched out."

Consider giving a tender touch these next few days. It's a way to give what some people need most - no questions asked, just a gentle moment.

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