Touch 9/19/07

So I was thinking today about those babies. I hear about them sometimes in orphanages. I want to say it's mostly in Russian orphanages, but I think it would be unfair to say it only happens there. Do you know what babies I'm talking about? They are the ones that are just set in a crib, or tied to a chair and left alone. They aren't touched, loved, snuggled or anything. If they are adopted, rescued, they often have severe attachment issues, and some are never capable of forming healthy attachments with anyone. Some of these kids literally die from the lack of love, touch etc..
All morbidity aside, how often do we feel dead, or dying because of this lack of touch, of love? How often do we act out, cry out just to be touched in some way. Of course, I'm not talking about this need for sexual touch, although that is often how the search for touch ends. I'm talking about that, "I see you, you matter, you're important" touch. That touch that says, "I love you and care about what happens to you".
I remember many many times a few years back that I would sit across the table from a person that I love deeply, strongly. For many good reasons the touch in our friendship is very limited, but I just remember sitting there and almost crying because I just wanted to touch. Brush the hair off his face, give a reassuring hug, squeeze his hand while he revealed a deep and lasting wound in his life. They told me things that I'm not sure they even meant to. I wanted to touch, to reassure them that their secret was safe with me, that I loved them because of their brokenness not despite it. The words I used, and use still, somehow seem to fall just short of where I aim them. I wanted to hug him and tell him that everything would be ok, even when I knew perfectly well that it wouldn't be. That's the touch I'm talking about. That's the touch that I most long to express with people, without it becoming this perverted come hither touch...

I feel that way about you, and you, and you too. I don't know how to tell you that I see your pain, I hear it and feel it with you. I don't know how to transition to this affirming, loving touch, the one that says, "I have a shoulder should you need it".
I don't know how to lean on the shoulders that I'm perfectly aware are there when I need them. I just don't know how.

But I think about those babies. Those babies that, after so long without touch, without affection of any kind, just give up asking for it. I think how true is that of me now. How afraid I've grown to ask for this affection, how I've prided myself on not needing it, when really it's all I'm looking for. I think about those babies and how they can die if love is withheld from them and I wonder, how can people not believe in God, in a loving God? These babies get the nutrition they need, they are physically sustained. But they don't have love. I realize that doesn't make sense. I'm pretty tired so I don't know what of this makes sense.
All I know is I was just so overwhelmed by this knowing that this love, this touch, this affirmation that we are seen, that we are worth being seen, loved, and touched is vital to our very survival. But so few of us know how to ask for it, or receive it when offered.

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