Hugs…A Form of Torture or Comfort?

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“Oh, I love hugging.  I wish I was an octopus, so I could hug 10 people at a time!” – Drew Barrymore

I am not a touchy-feely sort of person.  I never have been and I assume that I probably  never will be this way.  Physical contact of almost any kind makes me want to scream and run for the hills.  I admit this fact quite freely.  However, I most likely will not turn you down if you come to me in tears and say you need a hug.

This morning, as I was at the piano, there was a knock at my door.  So, here I am looking pretty scary while  playing scales.  My hair not done (not even brushed), still in my pjs, a pencil stuck in my hair, and a metronome clicking.  Quite a lovely picture.  I am a little apprehensive about opening the door and showing the world that at 10AM, I am still in this state. Even now I feel justified in being this way nearly every Thursday because I have nothing on my schedule until 1PM.  I creep to the doorway, even though the person on the other side could hear me at the piano, look through my peephole and see my next door neighbor.  I open the door and she tells me that she loves hearing me play.  Then, she says something that makes me pause for a second.  “Can I have a hug?”  I can see that she is nearly in tears.  My response, “Of course.”  I have no idea what was going on with her and it really doesn’t matter.  If my goal this year is to step outside my comfort zone, I’m well on my way.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to be acquainted with this funny old man.  I think we should call him Jim.  He was probably one of the funniest old men that I ever knew.  He wore these bike gloves that you see motorcyclists wear – ALL.THE.TIME.  I would fix him a cup of coffee and he would tell me all sorts of stories (most of which I’m sure never happened).  One day, he looked not quite like himself.  This was probably just a few months before he died.  He motioned me over toward him and said, “Can I ask you a favor?”  I replied in the affirmative.  He then asked me for a hug.  I gave him one and then sat down by him.  He told me that “sometimes you just need a hug.”  He went on to tell me about his day and that he just felt a bit alone and down and was glad that I had come along.

I work with a generation of people that seem to enjoy this type of comfort.  As humans, we use holding hands, a reassuring pat on the arm, hugs, kisses on the hand or cheeks to show our affection.  I often have people grab my hand when I am sitting by them or touch my arm.  I am better than before but please don’t call me babe.

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How often are we providing the comfort that those people in our lives need?  Are we more concerned with ourselves that we are looking to help those around us with such a simple thing as a hug?  I know that I am often more self-absorbed than is truly needful.   Let us make it our assignment this week to seek out those around us and just do something nice for them.  I am almost positive that this you won’t regret.

Peace and Love,

The Mad Pianist

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