The Power of touch…
Today, I was listening to Senior Rabbi, Baroness Julia Neuberger on the radio. She spoke for a few minutes as part of the regular program that accompanies me through my days at home. I find her jolly sensible, down-to-earth and invariably a message in her words that ring true.
Her subject today was touch…simply that, the touch of a hand. Its power to be used for the good, or in these days of mis-conduct and inappropriate-ness, if that’s a word, for worse. She spoke about how so many of us today, live with loneliness, and that’s not specifically any particular demographic or age-group, but something that can affect any one of us, at any time, whether expected or totally out of the blue, or just because of our circumstances. We tend to assume that being lonely mainly affects the older generation; those who have lost their Spouse or life partner. If that is the case, then imagine how much a warm hug, the clasp of a hand in friendship, or a simple touch on the arm or shoulder to express empathy, or sympathy, or just because it feels like the right thing to do, means to a lonely person…another human being?
These days, we have to be smart enough to judge each individual person, and each situation, with the utmost care. Somewhere along the line, a simple touch got misconstrued, and became something it was never intended to be. When I’m speaking with someone, especially someone I know as a friend or loved one, I use what to me, is that most basic of gestures, to register my support, friendship, or love for that person. I suppose it could be argued, that today, my gesture may be seen as unnecessary and unwanted; but I can honestly say in my nearly 60 years of using it, that I’ve never experienced anyone recoil from it, or express displeasure. Obviously there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed and we are all being deluged with way more details than is necessary, currently, in the media. I fully support anyone, male or female, who feels they have been treated or touched inappropriately by another person. However, what I feel is sad, is that because of the extent of Press and Media regarding this subject, over time, my simple gesture, will eventually become accepted by the majority, as inappropriate. Quite honestly, I hope I’m not here when that day arrives.
I have friends who employ the same tactile methods, so it’s not just me! I don’t feel threatened by it, I don’t find it unacceptable in any way, I see it as them expressing their support or friendship for me. Let’s not allow the power of a simple touch of the hand to be lost or make it out to be something it truly isn’t.
I fully intend to continue using the touch of my hand in friendship, love or concern. If it offends you, I’m sorry that you find it unacceptable, but please don’t de-cry me for using it with the very best of intentions, and rest assured that should it be proffered in return, I won’t be remotely upset!