Being Touched

How the corona virus awakens us to the preciousness of touch.

In times of virus infections, we are asked to avoid touching each other.
At the same time, we already live in a touch-deprived world, even though touch is so vital for our wellbeing.
Babies will die from lack of touch. As human beings, we just can’t survive without contact and connections and being touched in many ways.

Even the loneliest, most distant person who is angry at the world will express his rage by bombarding institutions with furious letters or e-mails or taking them to court relentlessly. Just in order to feel connected!!
If people can’t do it in a nice way, they will do it in unpleasant ways.

When we start to see this, we get a deeper understanding of the need for connection and the many forms this need will take, without judging it. Let us begin to see this need both in its light and its dark appearances. We are beings of connection, always, whatever it looks like on the outside.

Walking along on the beach, I take her small fingers tenderly in my palm.
Without hesitation and without following any guideline, we are connected.
Grandma Henriette, 57, and grandchild Fela, 2 years young.
This feels so sweet, so essential, so good.
This lifeline cannot be explained, in spite of guidelines.

Suddenly I feel a sense of alarm. I had already felt the hesitation on the part of my granddaughter’s mother, earlier that morning, when I came to pick her up together with my son. We didn’t shake hands, because of the new corona protocol. But I can’t walk with a 2-year-old along the street and beach without having to hold her hand once in a while…

How sad that this virus is splitting people apart, just in a time when we so need each other. I feel so grateful that I live in my bubble with my beloved. And at the same time I feel the loneliness of people who are sick, staying at home with the virus, without a beloved nearby. Thank God for Whatsapp! And thank God that
alongside all the confusion in our country, springtime has arrived, showing its splendor for all to see.

One of the gifts of this virus is that it awakens us to the importance of touch, contact, connection. It makes us so aware of our human values and our human needs. We are vulnerable beings, and it is that vulnerability that connects us more than anything else.

And although we now all keep our distance, in supermarkets and on the beach, let us be clear on one thing, and let this awareness sink in, into all our cells. May this lack of physical touch make us aware again of the great gift that it is. Let us see ourselves again as the lovable and loving people we are, caring for each other and reaching out with gestures of warmth and affection. Let us look forward to the time when we can hug each other again, or at least give each other a playful, encouraging pat on the shoulder. Let us realize the soft tenderness and playful aliveness that we can exchange through touch, feeling uplifted, carried away, seen and loved for who we are.

And until then, let us at least smile at each other, as often as we can.

On the beach, I walk along with Fela.
Full of tenderness.
Hand in hand,
Hand on skin,
our souls feel seen from head to foot.

This giving is receiving, for receiving is also giving. This kind of human exchange is a form of confirmation as well as coronation. It is to cherish our humanness in the small things, and at the same time, celebrate life with grandeur through our senses, through contact, connection and touch.

Let us feel this connection always, wherever we are and whatever our circumstances!