One of the most common forms of affection is the hug. It shows connection, encouragement, sorrow, joy, peace, and protection. It is the universal sign for “I care.” Humans need physical touch. It’s wired into our DNA so much that it is the first thing that happens to us after we are born.
We are held. Embraced. Nurtured.
In a hug, we feel love. I’m a hugger by nature and will gladly hold my arms out to those I’ve just met for the first time. I also love the embrace of my kids during schoolwork or when they fall asleep at night. The first thing that happens when my husband walks in the door after work is my head resting in the middle of his chest, his arms around my waist.
The embrace is one of the best forms of connection, and it is so much gentler than continual correction. Have you ever noticed that most times when a person is angry, disengaged, emotional, or inflicted that a hug will calm the wound?
And isn’t that so with us and God? Sometimes, we just need His hug. An embrace can change everything. It can show us our value, that we’re heard, and that slowing down for this moment matters.
I read once that a child needs eight hugs a day to feel secure. Eight hugs! The simplicity of physical connection and touch can nurture many gaps. And how much more is that for an adult? When we often can be connected to a screen or to a phone; when we often can choose work over slowing down, running instead of cuddling. Adults need the joy of embracing one another.
In an unconnected society, we can re-learn the art of the embrace. By definition, to embrace is to hold someone in your arms or to support someone willingly or enthusiastically. How much could one day change from the simplicity of support?
This week, let’s be mindful of how we can purposely engage in this practice. Let’s reach out to one another on purpose, not necessarily only those we can physically touch but also those who we can support. Is there someone who might be encouraged by a loving text or a phone call? Do you know someone who would be touched by a surprise hot cup of coffee or a sweet treat? Who can we embrace? Support? Encourage?
The simplicity of a hug can change an entire day. It costs nothing, and it can mean everything.