How many of us are moving distractedly, busily and disconnectedly through our lives, forgetting that we are part of a meaningful community, a caring pod of humans, in valuable relationships that need our love and attention? Forgetting, but needing to know we belong all the same?
Why is our societal habit to forget? To forget how much we need each other. To forget to show each other how much we care. I forget more than I’d like to, especially as I understand how much most of us need to feel connected to feel safe, supported and well in this world — to simply remember that we are not alone.
A little touch from another, like holding hands for even a short moment, can be such a palpable and simple way of feeling and remembering our connectedness, our belonging.
When Michael and I have been disagreeing (about messes in our space, a missing thing neither of us can find or overwhelming frustration with ourselves or each other), besides moping and judging and blaming, we also pull away and disconnect from one another — neither of us wanting to hurt any more than we already do.
Our regular habit is to be kind and affectionate. We often do things to help each other, expressing our care with loving words and touch: hugs, sweet skims of the arm as we pass each other, holding hands while out and about.
But when we’re fighting, feeling guarded and misunderstood, the long, unlit tunnel of loneliness begins to swallow us. And as the disconnection continues, the emotional pain and tension build. Repair is longed for but feels so hard.
Eventually, one of us will courageously and vulnerably come out of hiding, sheepishly approaching with an outstretched hand. No words. No explanation or defense. Just a heartfelt hand placed near the tentative hand of the other, waiting to be met … which it almost always is.
Our gentle, touching hands build our reconnection. Hands coming together once again reminds us that we are here for one another. That we are not alone. That we are deeply loved.
My wish for you, for all of us, is to know this feeling of caring connection. Whether with a dear friend, community member or beloved, may you reach out with a loving hand. May you feel your meaningful connection together, feel that you are safe and belong. And when you sense the need from another, may you extend your caring hand, supporting each other through this wild ride of life.
(Fun fact: Many ancient, spiritual traditions see the hands as an extension of the sacred heart — healing and powerful in all they lovingly touch.)
Read more of the Sept. 13-19, 2023 issue.