Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Don't Keep Your Hands to Yourself

I read recently that light stroking of the skin releases endorphins, which are the body's natural pain killers.

My mother lives with chronic pain, and so I decided to try it with her.

I often give massage to family members, but stroking is something I haven't used much since my children were babies, and I gave them back rubs to help them wind down and sleep.

But, I decided to try this for my mother with her consent. She had been having some neck pain in addition to her usual hip and leg pain. As she lay down and relaxed, I gently stroked her back, her arm and her head. I knew it was soothing to her because she nearly fell asleep and she usually has difficulty falling asleep.

And I discovered something else: as I touched her, I, too, was touched. I realized that my mother had never had someone love her in this way. I was being given a unique opportunity to parent my parent.

Later, after I kissed her good night and left her, I wept. I wept for the baby girl who spent her first few days on earth going through the agony of alcohol withdrawal, instead of being wrapped securely in the arms of a loving mother. And I wept for the child who never knew what it was to be cherished.

And I thought, This is it!!! This is why I am a Minister and an Ambassador of Touch. There is a hunger within each of us that can only be filled by human connection.

Don't let your world go hungry. Touch and feed the hearts of those around you.

Update on my mother: The next day, she reported sleeping better than she has in years!