I was recently part of a professional development training about caregivers’ responsibility to notice and prevent sexual abuse.

After watching videos and the official Q&A, the group discussion centers on touch – appropriate touch.  A pastor, attending because he works with elders and in hospice, tells us how in his experience, the hands, outer arms, face, and feet welcome appropriate touch as experiences of companionship and solace.  His hand’s physical comfort, they say, is very impactful, very healing, and I believe it on a deep, deep level.  The pastor sees how isolation and depression plague our elderly, as if they have become untouchable in our youth-centric culture.

My mind wanders briefly to Dutch birthdays.

“Hell,” he said, “wasn’t always fire and brimstone.  In old days, hell was described as extensive isolation, separateness, and a complete lack of touch.”

We all agreed it can be a maddening hell to go through life deprived of appropriate touch.

I wonder:

If you are a sensitive person, or dislike human touch, does the story above still make sense to you?  If not, I’m curious where I lost ya, and interested to learn.

For those of us who might not notice all the ways in which our ability, youth, or outgoingness gets us touch: If you were to find yourself house-bound tomorrow, perhaps able to get to your front steps on your own, how might you get your ‘fix’ for the years to come?  They say 8 hugs a day!

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