A comment made on one of my blogs regarding Jesus touching and reaching out to lepers caused me to recall how important human touch is to me, especially when I was going through treatment. Many times we fail to reach out to those who are critically or chronically ill because we don't know what to say or do. We're afraid of hurting them, depressing them, offending them, etc. so we do nothing. Sometimes, our own pain overwhelms us and so we run and hide leaving the person to deal with things on their own.
As Christ-Followers, we must stop doing these things. If we are indeed the Body of Christ, then that means we are representatives of His hands in this world and His hands are the hands of healing. I believe God always heals. Sometimes healing is administered through physical healing however, I also believe there is a healing far greater and that is the healing of heart, mind and soul. Far too often we fail to recognize the latter even though it is more important for us to be well in our soul which is eternal rather than in our body which will eventually pass away.
What I'm about to write may seem somewhat graphic to some individuals but I'm trying to drive a point home and feel I need to be blunt. I just want to warn you ahead of time before you continue to read this blog.
Last winter, I faced a lot. I had a six centimeter "chunk" cut out of my body and another chunk which contained several lymph nodes removed as well. I had four needles placed in a sensitive area while conscious. They also stick a wire in you so they can find the tumor during surgery. Yes, they numb the skin but that that only makes it so you're not screaming. Internally, you need to function "normally" for awhile as radioactive dye is going through your breast speeding toward which particular lymph nodes fluid from your tumor is draining into to. This is how they try to track down any cancer cells which are on the move. It is not perfect but they're getting better at this.
They gave me a chance to heal just enough so that I could have chemotherapy. Prior to chemo, you do another surgery. A port is placed under you skin which eventually feeds into your Vena Cava. This is so you don't have to have an IV stuck into the actual veins themselves for 4 plus hours every two-three weeks for the duration of chemo which can exceed four months or more. Many chemo drugs are hard on the veins and your veins can actually collapse. Now I had three incisions. One in the breast, one under the arm and one halfway between my breast and collarbone on the other side. Actually, there is a fourth one which is very tiny, right under my collarbone as well.
Next, I was pumped with "poison" every two weeks for 14 weeks. The process itself took 3-5 hours depending on which drugs I was having. After seeing my oncologist and having my bloodwork done, I walked around looking like I was a "Borg" or something with all the stuff hanging from my chest. My hair fell out and my eyes and nose burned from loss of hair in my nasal passages and thinning eyelashes. My skin cells died and didn't reproduce normally because they are fast growing cells which are destroyed by chemo. I looked and felt awful.
To try to counteract all of this, I wore the princess pin pictured in my avatar to every single treatment. It's pinned to a pink hat and reminded me that I was a princess of God even if I didn't look or feel much like one. Then, a month after chemo, I moved on to the "tanning sessions" (radiation).
During the early days of treatment, my husband was so afraid he would hurt me. One day, without thinking about it, he reached out and touched my face. My response shocked him. In the midst of my pain, I closed my eyes, stretched my face closer to him and said "You don't know how good that feels!" He learned a lesson that day. I was feeling isolated and alone. I felt cut off from the human race. I was defective. I was some sort of toxic waste dump. A lot of people are actually afraid to touch people with chemo because they think they might get poisoned and there are wild rumors flying about. Touching me caused me to feel connected once again.
This is getting way too long so I will have to continue writing on this subject later. However, I just wanted people to understand that those of us who battle with chronic illness desperately need to feel loved and cared about and one of the most powerful ways you can convey that is through something as simple as the touch of your hand. This is just not restricted to those of us with chronic illness. We all benefit from being touched by loving hands. I would like to challenge everyone who reads this to ask Jesus who He wants to touch through your hands today. If you rise up to that challenge, your life will never be the same as you bless others and in turn find yourself blessed as well!
K, if I could, I would reach right out to you right now and give you a big hug. Even through your own trials, you always seem to think about others as well.
I ask a special blessing on you from the Father in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord
Awwww... lemme give you a hug for that :). Thank you for sharing this K, you've made me rethink that there may be a deeper relational reasoning behind "laying of hands" (in addition to the spiritual). You know, it is hard for us to understand something we haven't actually experienced but what you are doing on CB is helping us relate better to the circumstances you have been through. I am also sure you are bringing much comfort and blessing to many with your words. You have a wonderful testimony and I praise the Lord for that!
Thank you for sharing this truth in words. I am a hugger by nature and I am often surprised at the different reactions I get. I do try to be tactful, especially when hugging men, and I try to gauge the response so as to not make anyone uncomfortable.
I think we all have heard of studies about orphans who were deprived of touch in their formative years and suffered many challenges as a result.
There is. Of course, not everyone is receptive to touch and you must let the Holy Spirit lead you. However, I have been praying with women I don't even know, felt prompted to ask I could touch them as I prayed and as soon as I touched them, they would suddenly fling themselves into my arms and cry their hearts out as the barriers they had erected crumbled. We often forget that Jesus came to heal the broken-heart also and though we may not always see physical healing that is not to say that God is not at work healing a wounded and sick soul.
This brings tears to my eyes and pain to my heart... I know I am standoffish, as least as far as physical touching. I don't know why. Maybe, like you said, I'm afraid to offend. But the idea that I may have deprived someone of geniune comfort, or even caused them the pain of feeling isolated breaks my heart. I am going to take up your challenge of asking God who I can touch today. Thank you.
Thanks "k" for bringing this whole topic up and I certainly meant what I said about how Jesus interacted with not only the lepers but everyone he ministered to. Isn't it interesting that He had to specifically tell Mary in John 20:17 to not touch him? In the New King James it is translated as "Do not cling to Me". Obviously there had been touching before the resurrection or it would not have come up. Those who have attempted to use this verse to promote obnoxious accusations are insane. All that is happening here is everything you mentioned in this blog.
Jesus was absolutely not afraid to touch anyone (unless the Father said not to). He was willing to touch, hug and hold a leper knowing he could get the horrible disease. His love counteracted the fear to reach out and really show someone He loved them.
I learned in my mom's final year how vital touch was. I would sit and gently stroke her arm or hair and watch her fears and apprehensions about life ending fade away. She also knew that I loved her and that meant more to her than anything else.
Thanks for bringing this up and sorry to have taken so long to respond.
I contemplated on even responding but I felt like you would smile on this.... I had preemie twin girls. They were struggling with life and not doing well. Inside of me they had so much life to them but out in the world they seemed to just lay... I said that to one of the nurses and she immediately got up and starting fixing a new incubator. One of the other nicu nurses asked her what she was doing... she said, "I never thought about it but you know they have been scrunched up together, holding hands, sharing fluids, maybe they just need to FEEL each other". When she put my girls together their heart monitors went nuts and at the exact same time and frequency. They instantly were better.... Matter of fact, they were out of the hospital with in 4 weeks from birth. Since then they are seven now, and one has a heart condition. When Calissta had her heart catherization it was the first time they were ever apart. At midnight Lissa woke up crying for her sister and before I could even grab my phone it started ringing. Alexus just needed to hear sissy. The hospital felt it in the best interest of Calissta to be released right then to go home and recover with her sister. We got home around 2am, Alexus was sitting up with her arms stretched out and whispered "I am here sissy, I'll take care of you" They fell asleep in each others arms... like they do still quite often now. I LOVE feeling loved and I LOVE being touched (BIG hugs and kisses) by my babies. God blessed us with the ability to heal wounds with just a touch. Thank you for your blog... it was beautiful.
Right on the button again k
I didn't learn about 'hugs and touching' until 1976 when God started breaking down the barriers in my life. It has been a long journey but I am truly blessed to be able to receive these jewels now. With all the health issues I have had over the past 20+ years there is nothing that stands out more as a positive aid to recovery than a hug, a kiss or the touch of a hand on mine.
Jamie Degonia (@girlforgod),
That was a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing it. When I was in college, I remember reading about an orphanage with a high infant mortality rate. They experimented with having women just come in to rock, hold and talk to the babies. The babies began to thrive. We really do need each other both physically and spiritually!
That was a good reminder that it is never too late to learn or change!
Yes, K is spot on and B2Y too.
One clear evidence that touch brings healing and solace is the practice of bringing pets to visit retirement and nursing homes. Just touching, petting the animals bring comfort to the residents. If touching animals brings comfort, how much more will human touch bring comfort, care and empathy to senior residents.
I have visited hospices too with my ex-colleagues who feel afraid and would keep a distance from the dying. It is my practice however, to get close to lay my hand on the head or hold both hands of the dying before I pray for them or sing to them. ... and I have always been blessed to receive a shy welcome smile (almost of relief and gratitude that someone has dared to touch them) when I touch them.
The following choruses sung at dedication services will remind us to love more than with words:
"Lord, lay some soul upon my heart, and love that soul through me
And May I bravely do my part, To win that soul for Thee. "
Yes, it takes courage to get outside of our normal comfort zone to touch somebody who may be a stranger in need of the Lord. But when we are filled with the love of God to touch one life for Him, we forget our discomfort and just reach out to save a "sinking" friend or stranger.
"I would be friend of all - the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift,
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up, and laugh, and love and lift,
I would look up, and laugh, and love and lift.
It will be difficult to lift if we dare not even touch.
This is NOT an attempt to incite pity, to make anyone go, "Ooooh! Poor thing!" I don't want your pity, but I--and so many others in situations like mine--need your touch.
There is another side to this discussion: the shut-ins. I live alone, and I work at home. The isolation is profound. I had company for a couple of hours on Saturday, two friends from a local writers' group that I used to go to, when I had wheels. My son-in-law had the use of my car for almost a year, and when it wouldn't run any longer, he left it in my garage. He was supposed to do the required maintenance on it--but, no. Didn't happen. A vehicle that I had bought for work (don't have that job anymore and could not make the payments) was repossessed by the bank on Monday. Literally, I have no transportation, no way to get out, except when walking.
Monday, after the representatives from the bank left, with the van, I walked to the power company and paid the bill. Then I walked to the library and got a couple of books. Then I walked home. Today is Thursday. I haven't seen another human being since.
I remarked to my sister, by telephone last night, that I didn't know why I was back in this house, doing the same type of work, enduring the same isolation I have endured for almost 6 years now. She said I will be able to look back one day and understand. That's great, but it sounds like a platitude, not the kind of "entering into" empathy that I needed. Nor was it an effort to have a searching discussion. Still, it's the best response I've received thus far.
And yet, how many elderly people, who cannot drive, and whose families live far away, are in the same position? I can walk. I have a telephone. I have a computer, and I can reach out. Today I will reach out to someone else. Perhaps by ministering to someone else--even in a small way--my need for "touch" will be met.
Absolutely! I have learned that in opening my own hands up, I am then opening myself up to receive from others.
May you be blessed today Redeemed4ever and may the lights of other princesses and princes of God surround you as you walk this current dark path. Always remember that God does turn our darkness into light! Psalm 18:28 (NIV)
Tania Bento (@Redeemed) I was reading your blog comment and the words that came clearly to me were "I need to know exactly what it is you want". We are blessed to have your friendship and in order for us to pray most effectively it would be good to speak out with you the needs that you have. (You have to excuse me, I am a 'literal' kind of thinker and I make lots of lists!). K is getting used to me now :) .
K here's another twist on touching.
In 2005 I spent 12 days in the hospital 7 of those in ICU and I was unconscious most of the time. On day 5 I remember nurses talking just out side the door. One was saying "I know it will help she is worried about her own little dog" and the other saying "she might drop it". The next thing I remember is the nurse touching my arm and asking if I wanted to see a six week old puppy. It was a struggle just to open my eyes and answer "YES". She was holding a tiny black puppy. She put my bed into a sitting position and laid the puppy on my lap.
The side bars of the bed were up of course and she kinda helped me reach out and touch the puppy. After what seemed like forever to me, I picked the puppy up and held it close to my face. It's coat was like velvet and it licked my nose. I held it out just a bit to see it better and commented "it's a pug puppy".. I'm not sure how long I just held, petted and whispered to the puppy but it seemed like hours. I do remember feeling more awake than I had in I didn't know how long and I was actually sitting up! When the nurse finally had to give the puppy back to the lady that brought them in I remember her saying "I told you it was just what she needed"! On the morning of day 7 it was decided I was ready to go to a private room on another floor. I had not slipped back into unconsciousness after holding the puppy.
Touch is very important -Thank God for knowing just the touch I needed and for sending those who knew it too.
I found out later that the lady that brought the puppies in does this twice a year for the ICU patients. Was it shear luck that I happened to be there at one of those times. I don't think so. Angels are among us!
HaHa I probably should have made this a spin-off blog.
Oh Pooh, what a beautiful story!
It is amazing the impact a something as simple as touch has on us and yet it is something that in many ways gets frowned upon or corrupted! I think it is just another way the enemy tries to "damage" us. The enemy hates anything which resembles caring, compassion or unity for that matter in the slightest way and seeks to make us feel completely isolated from one another as well as God.
May we all feel the touch of God in our lives, allow him to touch others through us and...allow others to touch us as well!
K, thank you for referring me to your blog... it said it so much better than I could because you have been there. Some people believe that in this new virtual reality where we can see each other via cameras (web cams) and talk to each other via Internet, that actually meeting each other face to face will become a thing of the past. I do not believe that. I believe when when we feel isolated and alone, there is nothing that replaces the human touch.
God always knows what we need to be healthy in spirit and soul... that is why He gave us each other.