I accepted touch the other day.
One of my love languages is touch, so why am I noting this? I touch people a lot. At work I would give back rubs and foot massages to clients and fellow workers alike. At youth evenings I was always braiding the girls’ hair, showing them love in a way that most girls enjoy.
Being touched, on the other hand, is something rare for me. I usually don’t ask for others to touch me, because I both know that not everyone likes touching, and also because no matter how you feel about touch, giving touch can be draining. For me, unless I’m really strongly tuned into God, I get worn out very quickly when I give touch, because for me giving touch is giving a piece of my heart. Unless I’m constantly renewing my heart in God, I run out of pieces to give.
But accepting touch is something that doesn’t happen. Accepting means that I need it. Accepting means that I have to be vulnerable, that I have to admit that I am not enough. Now I shouldn’t say it never happens. I remember one time when I had to accept help from my brother and my basically-brother/friend when we were climbing and running up buildings together. I physically couldn’t make it without help, so I accepted it. And again this past week when my bro and I were out climbing in the mountains there was one cliff I wasn’t sure I’d make it up, and I also wasn’t sure I’d survive if I fell, so I grabbed his outstretched hand.
But this last weekend, as I was saying goodbye to one life and turning to face the next part of the journey God has me on, I was not in physical danger. I was just emotionally/mentally unstable. I could have steeled myself, put up my walls and gone on my merry way. I could have been self-sufficient, self-reliant. But instead I decided to be honest. I don’t know how or if he sensed I needed it, but he held out his hand, offering me a steadying touch, a physical reminder of his presence as the grief tore at my heart. Like I usually do when I am in need but I don’t want to appear needy, I balked. I usually reject touch when I’m emotionally unstable because it feels like that is the straw that would break the camel’s back and I’d end up a sobbing, convulsing mess. I feel as if somehow through touch my darkest secrets will be transmitted to the other person and they will see how horrid I am. I feel that by accepting touch I leave myself vulnerable for rejection. Or maybe I reject it because I feel I don’t deserve the acknowledgement or the understanding that comes with it. I don’t know, and I’m going to stop psychoanalyzing myself now.
Whatever the case, this time I took, what for me was, a big step in this process of learning to trust. When he offered his hand, though I hesitated at first, I put my hand in his. I let him see that I needed help.
And I was ok. He didn’t hurt me. He didn’t turn it into something that it wasn’t. He didn’t use my vulnerability against me. As I sat there shaking under the weight of the emotions exploding inside my heart, he was a solid, steady reminder that I’m not alone. I have others fighting for me, praying for me, walking alongside me. His grasp broke through the onslaught of lies in my head, and reminded me of the truth that God will never leave me nor forsake me.