Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Monday, June 25, 2012

A touching matter


“Reach out and touch someone” an old slogan from the telephone company urged.

I am compelled to touch people. All my life, I have believed in the power of the human touch to heal, to soothe, to communicate. So, it’s a natural thing with me, just part of my being. I may put my hand on your shoulder, your arm, or your back. I may even hold your hand while we talk. If we sit together long enough, I may even rub your shoulders or back.

I think one can never have too many hugs. But, realizing that everyone is not a hugger like I am, these days, I do ask permission before hugging folks I’ve just met. 

Recently, I was shopping in a WinCo grocery store in Medford, Oregon, when I received a stranger’s  touch. Standing in the bulk foods section, an elderly gentleman took up the space between me and the bin of lentils. I noticed his dark suit jacket and his black newsboy cap, like the style my dad often wore. As I watched, the man reached into the bin, extracted one lentil, and popped it into his mouth. He made a face as he tried to chew this pebble.

“Hard as a rock,” I said.

“Interesting,” he replied.

I could tell from his expression and tentativeness he was new to the world of these tiny legumes. So I told him how I use them to make a lentil stew and that I make it vegetarian or with meat. 

The man looked me in the eye and touched my bare forearm. He kept his warm, smooth hand there while he said, “Thank you. I have to change to a vegan diet and learn about these things. You’re helping me.”

I was glad to help. But, what struck me most was his touch and how that simple act brought the two of us together, bumping up the level of this brief encounter.  Instead of two strangers passing in a grocery store aisle, we were now connected. 

Sometimes we are reluctant to engage people whom we don’t know, let alone touch them. But touching is a natural human response and need that brings warmth to both parties. It says, “you matter.”

Hugs and back rubs to you all.   ~ xoA