We’ve Lost Touch

Photo by Rey Spadoni

Tell me in a world without pity
Do you think what I’m askin’s too much?
I just want something to hold on to
And a little of that human touch
Just a little of that human touch

“Human Touch” – Bruce Springsteen

Social distancing. Some prefer the term physical distancing. We’re all doing it. We all must.

Caregivers and chaplains understand the importance of touch. They are taught that a brief, gentle touch upon someone’s arm can feel monumental, powerful to the one who is suffering, lonely, distant, fading…

Human touch. How can we possibly live without it?

My daughter visited us this morning. I’ve not seen her in person in a few weeks. My instinct, my practice is to hug her, to warmly embrace. But we waved to each other instead.

My grandson, not yet three years old, doesn’t understand why papa doesn’t playfully chase and grab him, wrestle him down onto the floor in a giggling jumble, as we often do. I miss holding him on my lap while I tell him a made up story about Mr. Whale and his adventures near a distant mysterious island.

And my mother, almost 94 years old, sits alone in a nursing home chair. Without visitors. Settling for telephone conversations and waves from her sons who visit from outside. She is distant, fading…

We’ve lost the ability to touch.

I recently wrote about this pandemic being a “great reset” (see here). As this evolves, progresses, and feels more and more like a “tightening noose” (as my friend described yesterday), I feel certain that I’m right about that.

We’ve lost touch.

But, I wonder, what might we now gain?

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