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8.18.2011

MY SILENT LANGUAGE

Touch is one of my love languages.  It is a way that I express what I feel in my head and heart.  Not only is it a mechanism that I use as a way to communicate, but it is also a way that I can hear and receive love.  One of my favorite pictures of my daughter is when she is about 9 years old.  It's summer and we are both sun kissed, dressed in shorts and t-shirts.  Sitting on the couch I am leaned far over her as she has wrapped her arm around my neck and is pulling me into her.  We are both smiling, contented, connected - love flowing freely between us. There is delight in both of our eyes and we are saying so much without saying a word.  She is now long past 9 years old, but the power of that moment, that touch, that photo still speaks to me.  At 24 years old she still walks into my presence and usually comes right toward me, snuggling in close for a hug, some tenderness.  It is one of the ways that she and I express love to each other.  I love words as you can clearly tell:)  But, there are many times that words fall short in their capacity to fully capture, embrace, or support the moment.  Last week a client came into my office.  She began to let it all out about the divorce she was in the middle of, the unfaithfulness of her husband, the disappointment and fear she had - how she felt cheated of love.  I knew some of what she spoke of and my heart was experiencing what she said all over again.  Sharing only a few words of encouragement, I got up from my desk and hugged her.  Her response to the embrace of this virtual stranger was amazing.  What I couldn't fully say in words, I finished with a touch.  It was a way to tell her she was not alone, I cared, that she would be ok.  That touch was fuel in her tank that words alone couldn't do.  A few years ago, while in the pastorate, after a strong interaction with one of the lay people on my ministry team under my leadership, I reached a breaking point.  This man had fought me tooth and nail on everything.  His disrespect for me, undermining behavior and chauvinistic ways broke my spirit.  After leaving this man's presence, tears streaming down my face and my heart aching, I turned the corner in a hallway after church to see my dear friend, our church board chairman.  He knew some of what I had faced.  It was a moment with not many words.  I looked at Matt and said, "I can't do this anymore!"  Sobbing took hold of me.  He took me in his arms, fully embracing me with both arms wrapped around me and let me sob for a considerable time.  As I cried, he rubbed my back.  Never did he seem uncomfortable with my breakdown, nor did he seem eager to release me from his arms.  It was exactly what my heart and spirit needed at that moment.  Touching is never meant to take something from someone, but rather to give something needed- reassurance, love, comfort, affirmation.  I've had a few people in my life who want to hug or touch me who are not giving me anything, but actually taking something from me!!!  You can sense that clearly.  I do touch people regularly - people close to me, and random or virtual strangers.  It's my language and my mission - to leave someone better for having been in my presence.  Even if it's only through a touch.   

1 comment:

  1. Have you read the 5 Love Languages book? ...I think I know which you are! :))

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