If I asked for a show of hands, I’m guessing that many of us, over the course of the last week, have laughed out loud (LOL’d), cyber-hugged someone or smiled via emoticons (those cute faces made with punctuation marks).
We probably did this without leaving our computer because those don’t require face-to-face contact, right? In fact, the Internet lets us keep in contact with people all over the world with the click of a button.
We are more in touch with people than we were five years ago. But, ironically, our ability to keep in touch has actually made us more out of touch than ever before.
Humans need touch. The power of touch can be comforting. It can heal. And it connects us in ways that computers and electronic devices can’t.
We know that people heal faster when they’re touched. We know that the lack of touch in babies can impair development. We know that the elderly can suffer from touch deprivation even when they are surrounded by people all day long.
This is why I consider passing the peace such a vital part of church services.
We know that Jesus liked to touch people. There are Bible stories where he healed people from afar—so it was something that he could do. But time and time again, we read about how Jesus physically touched people. He even touched those that no one else would.
So think about this: Who could benefit from hearing you laugh out loud? Who would probably like a pat on the back or a warm hug? Who needs to hear someone say “I’m thinking about you?”
Take your lead from Jesus, our model of healing and comfort. Give someone a real, genuine hug. Hold a child in your arms. Offer support or sympathy, eye to eye. Pat someone’s back when you congratulate them. We all need to be touched.
Amy Jandrisevits has her master of social work and presently uses her skills in her career as a stay-home mom to two boys and a new daughter. She also has a doll business for children with limb differences. She attends Cross Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wisc. This first ran in April 2014 as a Give Us This Day column in Gather magazine.
Photo: Amelia Mason received one of Amy’s dolls