My Birthday Gift to My Sweetie!
Today, Tuesday, March 25th, is my husband’s birthday. When I asked him a few days ago what he wanted for his birthday, he answered, “World peace.” So, being the loving wife that I am, I am going to see what I can do to fulfill his request.
I have been thinking lately about how the premise of this site is that the root cause of the problems of the world is our separation theology, and thinking about how that manifests, not in the obvious things, like war, violent crime, etc., but in things that touch our lives every day. And that word, “touch” seems to me to be a key.
We have made touch, the most basic and fundamental human connection possible, suspect, and all but impossible too often. In Korea it is getting a little less strict I am told, but when I lived there in the mid 1990’s, a woman didn’t even hold hands with a man until he was her fiance. In order to receive the human touch craved, men held hands with men, and women with women…I witnessed soldiers lined up in pairs as security for a Michael Jackson concert holding hands.
I had a Japanese foreign exchange student shyly tell us that she had a very traditional father who never touched her, and after having my husband include her in the cuddles with our daughters, she realized how much she not only missed her father’s touch, but needed it.
My own father, (and many fathers of daughters of his generation onward), upon the noticing that my body was transforming from girl to woman, stopped touching and hugging me, lest he be labeled as a perverted father.
My mother observed that hers was a “proper” British family where displays of affection, public or otherwise, were simply not expected.
I think that it is little wonder that the sex trade is burgeoning with touch being so regulated, and women and men now constantly on the lookout for inappropriate touch…so much so that we now do not touch one another with any affection for fear of being charged with harassment.
Do not for one moment get me wrong, though, women, and men have been subjected to genuine harassment and this was truly an issue that was rightfully dealt with. I have very intimate knowledge of “inappropriate” touch. But there has been equally genuine, in my view, collateral damage caused by the “fix”. Touch became off limits entirely, in any workplace or casual setting. One often deems it too dangerous to figure out where the line between okay and not okay is, and we perpetuate our physical isolation out of fear of litigation.
Because of this lack of, but, none the less requirement for, touch, massage, an acceptable way of being touched, has burgeoned as well, thank goodness, but it is not enough. It is still only the touch of a stranger.
I’m moving closer to my gift to my husband, I promise you!
I am a hugger. Oh, how I like to hug! I didn’t know I liked to hug until, at age 19, when I was in a church folk group, the group visited a Charismatic church of another denomination, and everyone hugged! I returned home and began hugging everyone! This was not in the comfort zone, to be sure, and 40 years later there is still one brother whom I hug, but much more formally, because it remains uncomfortable for him. BUT…one day, a while after I began hugging, my mother thanked me for bringing hugging back into the family. She had missed it.
A friend recently posted something on Facebook that indicated hugs longer than 20 seconds do wonderful things to our bodies, akin to falling in love! I understand that completely, and I think most of us innately do. I have had this demonstrated to me on more than one occasion. I was once, for instance, at a gathering with old friends in Taiwan, and, with the wait staff formally lined up outside in the hall, I hugged every old friend as I said goodbye to them. When the last of my friends was properly hugged, I looked over at the wait staff, and one of them put out her hands in a gesture that said, “Me, too?” No English involved, only the power of touch…and each and every staff person stepped into my arms for their hug of appreciation, and connection!
Two days ago was also my 41st wedding anniversary, and talking about touch reminds me of when, after I had been married just over a year, my husband asked me if I still loved him. I was stunned! I asked him what would make him ask such a thing, and his response was, “You hardly ever touch me any more.” That was the moment that I recognized that the way I was raised, with touch being minimal, was being passed on through me. I consciously changed that. In fact, just last week an old friend of mine commented that she liked being around us because we still laugh…and we still touch one another affectionately!
In another exampling instance, I gave my husband a hug in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago. I was simply happy to be with him after being on an extended trip away from him. A few minutes later a man tapped me on the shoulder and told me how wonderful it was that I did that, and in public, and actually thanked me!
So, here I am, after remembering all of these things, and thinking about what this site is all about, and what my husband’s birthday wish is…and I am going to ask all who read to look at their own lives and see where simple human touch is lacking. I am going to ask all to be open to falling in love with another person for twenty seconds and give a meaningful hug…to your child, to your parents, to your spouse, or even to a stranger that you can just sense needs a hug.
I am going to ask you to be open enough, to be vulnerable enough to ask someone for a hug when you need it. It could literally be the beginning of reaching out, knowing you are not alone, that saves your life.
I am going to ask you to stop some of the separateness in our world, by stopping, literally, some of the physical separation in your world. I have observed that when we feel physically connected, we feel an impulse to connect in even more profound ways.
I am asking you to transform the world through the power of touch…that I may give my husband World Peace for his birthday.
Happy Birthday, sweetie…I love you hugely!
(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of, and Spiritual Helper at, the global website at www.cwghelpingoutreach.com She may be contacted at: Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)