The human touch–it can be something sad, or it can be comforting. The last few days, it’s been both for me. Dad’s billfold is on our chest of drawers. When I simply reach out to touch it, a deep sadness comes over me–and a few more tears–so I walk away from it. But then I think about all the embraces we received from friends and family after Dad’s death–and I find it comforting. The most powerful touches came to me without any words. At the funeral home before we opened up for friends, our son-in-law Michael came up and just put his hand on my shoulder. He’s been where I was at–and it was amazing the strength that came to me. And he’s just one example.
Yesterday did not end well for us. Last night I received a phone call that one of our very good friends, Max–more like family–had just died. He and his wife Cindy ARE family. And I learned that another icon of the Center Star Community had also died. I went to school with his kids. And right now I simply want to go back there–though the wounds of my own grief are still very fresh–to give my friends the human touch–the way it was shared with me.
But there’s this thing called COVID–the demon has affected and infected all of us here at home. We are in quarantine. In addition to the sickness and death caused by COVID–for the past couple of years, it’s limited the human touch. First, there was the lockdown–and when some of the limitations were lifted–we could only pretend to shake hands. Facemasks and social distancing were–and continue to be–the norm. Honestly, I’m struggling here–drowning even–because I cannot be with our friends, the way they were with us. And then there’s Dad’s billfold.
What’s a person to do? To be touched in kindness or to touch another person in kindness is powerful. When we can’t be there–when they can’t be here–when even an inanimate object feels like we’re in a tsunami of grief–what can we do? How can we cope? I will answer my own question–know that God is touching us! We know this because the Bible tells us so–In Psalm 139, verse 5 (New Century Version) David wrote: “You are all around me—in front and in back—and have put your hand on me.
This Psalm goes on to talk about trying to get away from God’s presence, from His touch. But in every place, God is already there, waiting for us. His touch is the most comforting touch of all–and no pandemic–not even our own sinfulness–will ever prevent Him from reaching out and touching us. I leave you with this picture. It’s from back in the day before cell phones–so there was this thing called long-distance calling. It could be very expensive. But AT&T had an ad campaign to encourage subscribers to make those long-distance phone calls. The ads were something like this:
When we need it–God reaches out and touches us. Not with a phone call, but His very own presence. And Jesus invites us to reach out and touch Him the way He invited the disciples to touch Him after The Resurrection. And when this *%^#*&_)^%^$(@&#%^ pandemic is gone–reach out and literally touch someone because they will need it. Join me in praying for an end to this virus–so that we no longer need social distancing.