Would you rather get a massage or have sex? You’ll likely never have to make a choice between the two, but I’m curious. Normally this would not be a lead-in to a story about lonely old people, but think about how great a massage would feel to someone who rarely feels the human touch.
Uncle Donnie (Z’L of blessed memory) was a confirmed bachelor. He was my mother-in-law’s first cousin and they were a very close extended family. Gloria and Uncle Donnie weren’t just cousins, they were best friends too. Uncle Eddie was the third musketeer. The Freeman family has a colorful history. I’m not sure how many brothers there were, or how many were in the family business; but Gloria, Eddie, and Donnie grew up living a life of privilege. Horse racing in the ’30s and ’40s was very lucrative for bookies. Their childhood and teenage years were spent at race tracks, and occasionally tagging along when their parents went to a night club. Old movies from family picnics showed the men in shirt sleeves playing pinochle and looking away from their card game only long enough to smile for the camera. They were a family who liked action.
By the time I met Uncle Donnie he was broke. The older generation was long gone—along with their money. Donnie was a gambler. He squirreled away whatever money he could from social security and his part-time job to bet the horses and take a yearly trip to Las Vegas. Other than getting together with Gloria, Eddie, and us for dinner, Donnie was alone. The kids were young then, but they understood that Donnie needed loving. They went out of their way to cuddle up to him on the couch, hold his hand, and give him kisses. I’m certain that Donnie would go years without the human touch if it wasn’t for his affectionate great-nieces and nephews.
How many lonely people are there who never get a hug? Sheri is a massage therapist who works for Alden Senior Living. Her job is to touch the elderly living in nursing homes. It’s not surprising that we live in a time when touching other people is a respectable way to earn a living. Sheri does it with her hands; our Pray Makers do it with their words. Is it appalling or brilliant that touching someone else can be a career choice? We’re in need of human contact. Whether it’s for our body or for our soul, we all need to be touched. Touch someone today with a lingering handshake. Caress the hair of one you love. Pray today that all will know the bliss and the power of the human touch.
by Jan Sydam, prayables.com
I ask Your blessing upon all
who enter my life today.
May they feel Your love
as they interact with me,
hear Your love when I speak
and leave my presence knowing
they have been touched by Your love.
Guide me to see, feel,
and love the way You do.
Help me be blind to the shortcomings of those around me.
Open my eyes to the needy;
not only to those who are short on money
but to those who are low on patience, caring and love.
Remind me that everything and everyone I encounter today
have been ultimately created by You.