Two mornings ago, at 4AM, I woke to feed my grand-baby. In the process I had to run to the bathroom and vomit. This was the beginning of a long day hurled over a toilet, chills, body aches and trying to make sense of how and where I got sick. With every release I felt parts of me shutting down. I would go from the bathroom to the bed and back. I would go to check on the baby who was well taken care by my fiancé. I needed to touch someone. I needed to feel the security of life around me. My state of awareness was fading along with my energy. Touch via words, physical caress, or a glance was my lifeline.
It is in moments of illness, sadness, turmoil and desperation that human touch is the best cure. Sometimes it seems like the only healing agent. A stroke on the forehead always seemed to soothe my children when they were sick. A gentle caress with words of assurance always seems to aid a friend in need. A rub on the neck or shoulders of a partner seems to remove the stressors of a day. Touch! It is that one thing that allows our humanity to cure itself from hatred and prejudice when we least expect it from a stranger. The touch of hands, a smile, kindness and laughter erase the rough edges from anyone who is hurting quicker than any pill. It might not last long but it is a start in allowing the mind, body and spirit to reconnect and find equilibrium.
When we are sick we think it is never going to be over. The pain that progresses in the body creates a barrier of time and space. We don’t know how we ever felt at our best. Even a twenty-four hour stomach virus can spark the desire for comfort from another. The most un-affectionate person can fear being alone. It isn’t about feeling needy or clingy. It is about knowing that someone out there has our back. We are cared in a way that brings us back to the womb. It reunites childhood emotions of safety, belonging, security and acceptance. The web of human and spirit unite bringing and taking us back to basics. All the medicine in the world can’t fix the necessity to be sustained and held by another. Touch is vital to our existence. And, it is even more prominent when we are sick.
I woke better the next day. My mate and daughter caught it for themselves. The things I can offer now are touches of love, kisses on their foreheads, gentle nudges, and the assurance that they aren’t alone. I got their backs. I can’t take away their symptoms but I can be there for whatever they need. John Keats said that “touch has a memory.” I believe each caress has an imprinting long-lasting effect that transports spirit when it is done from love. There’s a connection between relief, reward, reassurance, and release within the walls of our beings. Our hands carry lifetimes of healing memories. Within a fingertip we can create the awareness of universal love.
Everyday our lives are touched by desire, creativity, hope, dreams, spirituality, faith, love, and a million other things. If we are fortunate enough to allow another to enter into our vulnerability we can be touched by God. It is there that the source of our existence lights the path to every obstacle, malady, disorder and affliction.