I recently heard about a business executive who became depressed. Things were not going well at work, and he was bringing his problems home with him every night. Every evening he would eat his dinner in silence. His wife and five-year-old daughter felt completely shut out.
After several nights of this, one evening his daughter went into the den where he was reading the newspaper. She took her little hand and pushed the paper down. Then she jumped into her father’s lap, wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him strongly. The father said abruptly, “Honey, you are hugging me to death!” But then he thought to himself, “No. Actually, you are hugging me to life…”
Touch is an incredibly important aspect of human life.
The Menninger Institute in Topeka, Kansas once studied a group of babies who didn’t cry. Apparently, these babies, had been in abusive situations. Their parents let them cry for hours on end and never responded. Eventually, the babies quit crying. It is almost as if they had learned that it was not worth trying.
So the Menninger Institute tried an experiment. They got some folks from retirement centers and nursing homes, and every day they held these babies and rocked them. The object was to get these babies to start crying again. And you know, it worked. Physical touch made all the difference.
I wonder if there is someone you know who could use a lift. Maybe you could grab a hand, offer a hug, or put your arm around a shoulder. Let them know what they mean to you and notice the difference.
Let us pray: Loving God, we thank you today for friends and family, and for the people you bring into our lives who make our lives richer. Help us never fail to find ways to show our love – not only with our words, but also with our actions.
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