(Yet Again) Five Minute Monday: Touch

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Gentle Reader,

I was so on top of things last week. Back to a regular posting schedule. Back to a regular life schedule. Except for the headache that wouldn’t go away, I felt pretty good.

As The Beatles sing, “I shoulda known better.”

My beloved youths shared their germs with me again, and I’m on day three of being stuck in my bed with a nasty cold. All I’ve done is sleep, drink orange juice, and watch movies. Try to read, by my eyes swim and I can’t focus.

Go.

I’ve never regained feeling along the left side of the scar that bisects my abdomen. Too many nerves sliced up. Between the white line and my belly button is a field of nothingness. Except that it itches, practically all the time. But when I scratch the itch, I can’t feel the scratching.

Don’t ask me to explain this.

Skin is an amazing thing. So many different shades and textures. Senses the slightest movement of air. Responds to the tiniest pinprick. Blushing cheeks. Freckles bursting across shoulders in the summer sun.

Our church culture is not touchy-feely. The world around us has given way to the oversexualization of every person and interaction, and, rather than being a people who redeem and restore, we succumb to paranoia. “Noli mi tangere,” Jesus said to Mary Magdalene in the garden that day (John 20:17); we take up “touch me not” as our mantra. So our hands never feel a squeeze in a moment of celebration. Our backs never feel encircling arms during times of grief.

Our bodies are not evil. We can give and receive appropriate, healthy, loving touch. In fact, this giving and receiving should be a natural, normal marker of our communities.

We embrace.

Stop.

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3 thoughts on “(Yet Again) Five Minute Monday: Touch

  1. Touch is something most hold dear
    as part of God’ own plan.
    But please, do not use it here,
    for I am an Asian man.
    I’ll bow to you, and shake your hand
    but please do not ask more
    for I come from a crowded land
    and you should know the score.
    Courtesy demands a sure respect
    of another’s personal space.
    It’s not something you may reject,
    and a hug does not bring grace.
    The love I give is full, sincere,
    but not a part of being ‘near’.

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    1. I love your poems, Andrew. Always full of insights.

      I’m actually not a big “touchy feely” person myself. People tend to squeeze too hard. I’ve just been noticing, quite a lot lately, that church language about being family doesn’t line up with the way we interact with each other. We’re all so….stiff. I don’t believe that’s what Jesus had in mind.

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  2. I’m working on being more “touchy.” There’s so much factored into how we express ourselves but self awareness is always helpful and I’m trying to be more vulnerable by offering myself to others in a physical connection.

    Like

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