Friday, April 28, 2017

Feeling Touched

After several days of opening boxes and sorting through the many items that needed to be put away in my new home, I looked at my hands and nails, and realized they needed some TLC. I headed to the nail salon and proceeded to get "my usual". The manicurist was one I had never met before but she seemed intuitive to my weariness because, rather than just proceed with getting the job done, she would stop to hold and caress my hands periodically. I had my head down and then looked at her. I said, “You’re making me cry.” She said, “I get that often. I’m just giving you some of my energy.” I didn’t sit there and analyze what that meant. All I knew, I felt so loved and revived by the touch of this little Vietnamese gal. She was touching me with love that I needed.

We all know the power of a caring touch. The doctor who treated us, the teacher that dried our tears, the hand holding ours at a funeral, the hand of our sweetheart reaching out to hold ours, or a handshake of welcome at an event. But it seems that lately I’ve noticed the power of touch even more. My sweet granddaughter, Ruth, is a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse and she told me how important it is for those preemies to be touched. All babies seem to do a little better when they're held, caressed and hugged frequently—but for those born prematurely, it is especially true. In fact, how much a preemie is touched can make a huge difference in their overall well-being and ability to thrive. Infant and preemie touch and massage are "a powerful means of teaching children, from day one, that they are loved and deserving of love."

I have dear friends who recently gave birth to their twin baby girls – two months early. I’ve followed their progress daily via their FB updates that are filled with faith and optimism, though it's been touch and go with many ups and downs on this journey. I learned something I didn't know before. This precious couple embraces their daily opportunity for kangaroo care where the babies are placed skin to skin with their mom and dad. I understand that kangaroo care improves bonding and closeness to their babies, and the babies sense how loved they are.

Like my little manicurist yesterday, shouldn't we be reaching out and touching others also? Many of us do. We use our hands to pray for the sick, or to reach out with a congratulatory high-5 or even to write a letter or make a call or bake a pie for someone who needs us.

Let's make the difference in someone's world reaching out and touching them. They'll know they are loved, and appreciated when we do! Diana Ross sang it so well: "Reach out and touch somebody's hand -- make this world a better place, if you can!"