Friday, October 28, 2005

Reach Out And Touch

I have a confession to make.

My name is Ron and I am a hug-a-holic.

(Chorus of people: Hi, Ron.)

And in a society and culture that places way too much emphasis on both ends of the sexuality spectrum (out-and-out hedonism on the left, sterile puritanical attitudes on the right), where John Paul II's "Theology of the Body" provides a spiritual anchor (virtue is in the middle), we really aren't very comfortable with expressions of physical affection (when appropriate).

"Skin hunger" is what the phenomena is labeled. Some people will claim it's as needed as air, food, and water. We've seen the studies related to neo-natals who do better when nurses touch them. I remember reading a story about a child who wanted an embrace from his mother just because "I need a God with skin on." And who doesn't know what Elmo's favorite thing to do is?

I have had to learn how to be affectionate, mindful of what my limits are within the 6th and 9th Commandments and the boundaries of others. It is an ongoing process. But I have become more comfortable in giving and receiving hugs. (And, if you haven't noticed, most of the time you can't give one without getting one.)

And how powerful can touch be? Anybody remember the Gospel story of a woman with a hemorrhage? It could be, literally, life-changing.

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