Remember when you were a child learning to ride a bike? You were so excited to get on that bike, whether it was new or used it didn’t matter, and you were finally going to be able to ride with your siblings or friends. You were a little unsteady at first, then you began to understand how to balance and seem to be getting the hang of it! Suddenly, you find yourself on the ground with a scraped knee or hands. Instantly you seek for help, someone to gently remove the debris, wipe away the blood and tears, add a band-aide, give a hug and encouragement, then get you back on that bike.
There are many elements in the care received that helps set us up for success, but the hug and encouragement are the ones that hold the most power. When touch is nurturing (in other words, loving), kind, and wanted, touch plays a key role in healthy development and is involved in regulating emotions and stress responses. Touch has the power to heal.
I had an aunt that was born with several medical conditions and challenges. She was not able to communicate verbally, so, as you could imagine, she would get frustrated when she needed something and no one knew how to help her. Over time it became very clear that she was aware of everything, yet lacked the ability to say it. To know her was to love her. The more time you spent with her the more you understood what she needed.
She was a bit impulsive and loved to touch everything. At first her care takers would try to keep her from touching. However, she was determined enough that she would eventually get the object she had seen and destroy it. They soon realized that by letting her touch the object when she first saw it, she would be very gentle and the object would stay in one piece. For her, touch was learning and understanding, which was also healing.
In the book of Mark in the Bible, we learn about a woman which had an issue of blood for 12 years. She had sought help from many physicians, spending all she had and making every effort possible to find healing only to have nothing help-- in fact it got worse. She was shunned, alone, and needed help. She heard of Jesus and his healing touch and knew he was nearby. She joined the throng of people following him knowing he could heal her. She pressed forward and was able to touch the hem of his garment. “Straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.” The belief, and the trust that touch could heal was real. Jesus then asked who had touched him. She came forward “Fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.” Jesus acknowledged her and allowed more healing in letting the woman tell her story.
We all have stories and the desire to belong and feel needed. When we take opportunities to listen to others in business, in our community, and in our families, we have the capability to build bridges and connect which allows us to share our abilities.
A final example of the power of touch occurred over a length of time. My son was born with many congenital heart defects. At 2 days old he had his first open heart surgery. The delicate touch the surgeon was required to use while making the first of many repairs on his tiny heart was imperative. With great skill, the use of powerful magnifying glasses, and the gentle touch of the surgeon, this first surgery was a success. In recovery, my son was intubated and hooked up to too many machines to count. I could not hold him to sooth him, and in fact some of the medications required to help him heal made touch painful. Yet there were 2 things that calmed him. Music and holding my finger.
Over the years of surgeries and procedures, these 2 elements have stayed constant. We call it the comfort hold. For both my son and I it is simple, yet profound. The peace, strength and healing that comes in this grasp tells us we are not alone.
Whether it is touching an object, physically giving or receiving touch and care, or being heard and feeling the internal touch, when done lovingly, kindly and it is wanted, the healing is real.
At Believe, we are working to build a community that encourages growth, trust, and healing from life’s challenges. Working together for good has the ability to heal us individually which then heals a community, making the world a better place. We would love for you to join us in making a difference.