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.