A special touch

Published 8:11 am Monday, January 15, 2024

It was over a decade ago when I first read the article on “touch.” The gist of the article stuck with me, and then recently I ran across similar information. Let me give you the substance of the article.

Studies have shown that “touch” among animals and humans is a lot more important than one might think. One study was done in orphanages. Children who were deprived of traditional nurturing had much higher levels of a particular stress hormone. Another study found that “touch-deprived infants have abnormal levels of hormones that regulate social behavior.”

That information dissolved all the guilt that I might have carried when as a young mother I held and rocked our little ones a LOT. Even though there were older mothers that warned me of spoiling our infant babies, my mother hormones always won over any advice I was given as to how to “train” our little ones. A heart-warming poem I read corroborated my philosophy: “Chores and dust could always wait, but babies don’t.” They excel in growing out of the holding/rocking stage much faster than we ever imagined.

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Later I read that teenagers need at least one hug from their parents on a daily basis. I didn’t need to be told that. Another wise woman once said, “When the babies are young, they are on your lap. When they are older, they are on your heart.” I learned quickly that hugs come automatically to those on my heart. It is that “touching thing” that the human heart needs.

A recent devotional sent me to the story in Luke — Jesus in a large crowd with throngs pressing in upon Him. The Miracle-Worker was not just being touched; He was being crushed!

Then the story takes an unusual twist. A woman finding no cure for a chronic blood flow (hemorrhaging) became part of that throng of people. She had one thought on her mind — touching Jesus — even His garment would suffice. Her faith believed healing would follow.

Even in her weakened state, she managed to push through the crowd to touch Jesus. He abruptly stopped and asked a question that Peter and the other disciples believed to be senseless — “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Peter must have thought, “Multitudes are touching You!” But hers was a different touch — a touch of faith and tenderness, and Jesus immediately recognized it as such.

As I thought about Jesus’ thought-provoking question, I concluded that He is sensitive to touch, especially the seeking and trusting touch. So often we neglect drawing near Him in prayer or meditation, or if we do, it’s often lacking in love and trust that I sense that desperate woman felt. Touching in the physical and spiritual realm could be an extended study for all of us.

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.