Saturday, March 28, 2009

Touch and the Art of Being Real

As we've been tossing about the concepts of "connecting" and "human touch" this week, another way of touching has emerged in my thinking. How is it that I touch, most often anyway? I mean, I am a lover. I love people...deeply. (Just can't help it! I think it has something to do with my Programmer:-).) And as I think of ways we touch one another, words come to mind. Yes, speech is another, and possibly most powerful means of impact.

I'm encouraged that this focus on physical touch has gotten so much attention here. But now, let me try and communicate about words as touch.

Usually when we speak with one another, we by necessity keep a certain spiritual distance. Our bodies or their sound-waves are in proximity, but we keep our souls (Greek--"Psuche"--English "psyche.") back at a comfortable distance. It takes a special boldness, not to mention time, to enter into soul-level conversations. But it seems to me that only in such conversations--where honesty reigns--is love able to happen. And truly, only in such conversations can soul (psychological) damage or repair be done. This is because it takes honesty to touch.

(I'd like to take time to relate the involvement of "spirit" here, perhaps later.)

We can do the "How are you?" -- "I'm fine!" conversations all day long, and never touch a soul. We can speak of weather or sports and never hurt or encourage a soul. For there is no need to reach with one soul to another in such conversations. And sadly, we too often become trained to live and converse on a banal level of "cliche."

But enter the arena of honesty--conversations where we tell a friend they have offended us, or have a character issue we believe needs confrontation--and you know there will be contact. And great hurt or great healing is possible. Because souls are super sensitive. They feel pain with the slightest "touch," and ecstasy as well. And change, or healing in this case, can only happen through such touch. How often do we risk such intimate interface?

And when we look in one-another's eyes and say a genuine "I love you"--and we mean it--and the hearer hears it, then we touch. Like a mother's gentle fingers brushing a child's back, comfort tingles it's way into some deep place, and CONTACT is made. Touch has happened. As a favorite author of mine says, a "psyche is stroked." (See Susan Howatch Anglican Series.)

Be real. Prayerfully make your words healing touches. And risk impacting the reality of another mortal's immortality.

Grace and peace to you.

1 comment:

Zee said...

sometimes it's so hard to escape from those "how are you" - "fine" stuff...

it's interesting... being able to observe cultures, i've noted something. over here in Ukraine, you don't get as much of "howdy"-"fine" routine with those people you don't know (cashiers, people in the line, etc) as in US. and on one hand i love being able to make a small talk with a person at the cash register - even if it's just a smile and a how are you - makes one's day brighter. people usually look like i'm a person sprouting a second head when i attempt that here. thankfully people are getting more and more open. it's interesting to see the curious surprise on the faces of people at McD's when i congratulate them with a holiday (if it's a holiday and i'm at McD's), or something. sad - to realize that they are working there and no one cares about them while they are working - just a middleman between the food and the customer.

on the other hand, whereas this small talk is okay with McD's personnel, cash register people, waiters, etc, it's sad to see when people are the same way with friends.

maybe it's just me being an introvert - i process everything inside before "spilling my guts" to someone who i know will understand me. most of the time, i am just quiet (yeah, i get talkative when i am writing, that's different)... i guess i prefer to observe than to be in the midst (although sometimes being in the midst is fun)...