Friday, September 7, 2012

Therapeutic Touch

Hang with me here, this is a long post, but has some good nuggets in it. In nursing school we were introduced to the concept of Therapeutic Touch ("feeling" how a person feels by placing your hands above their body - not touching - and receive their "vibes").  Now, I'm not one of those people who disregard alternative medicine.  I definitely think there is a time and place for non-Western medicine, if you will. You can decide what you think either way.

One thing I DO believe in - 100% - is physical contact. MY version of therapeutic touch. Touching a person - recognizing that they are a person, and you want to reach out and connect with them.  I will also admit that at times I forget that.  In the business of seeing a lot of patients, my desire to reach them all, I sometimes am not as personal as I should be.  Most of the time I like to think I really try and connect with the person in front of me.  This time is theirs.  I make eye-contact, listen to them, and touch them.

Maria, a sweet 77 year old woman came to my clinic yesterday.  She was suffering from things I simply couldn't help her with.  As I reached out to hold her hand, we made eye contact, and just connected.  One suffering human to another.  I may not be suffering physically the same way she was, but I suffer from seeing so many suffering.  I suffer from the pangs of seeing children go hungry, babies born into a difficult world, children neglected and ignored by their parents.  This is the world I am in - I see it 100% of the time every day.

Maria and I "caught" in a moment
And as God would have it (imagine that) the ladies on our team just started reading a book by R.C. Sproul -  Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life.  In it R.C. writes, "I remember the story of a distraught father who was deeply grieved by the death of his son.  He went to see his pastor, and in his bewildered anger he asked, 'Where was God when my son died?'  The pastor replied with a calm spirit, 'The same place He was when HIS Son died.'"  Another area he writes, "God knows our limits far better than we do...The promise of God is not that He will never give us more weight than we WANT to carry.  The promise of God is that He will never put more on us than we CAN bear."

Mike caught me in this moment.  I didn't realize he was even there until I saw the picture posted on FaceBook and was caught off guard.  I had given Maria my undivided attention.  I can't empathize with her physical suffering, but I certainly can sympathize with it.  My sweet mother lived the last 10 years of her life with debilitating ailments until she finally succumbed to the final infection that her poor little body could no longer endure.  She was an amazing woman, and carried her burden of suffering that should be a role model for all!  And in that moment, I saw my mother, suffering things I couldn't even imagine, but I loved her with my touch and with my eyes and with my time.

So remember - touch someone.  Give them a hug - it may seem like such a small act, but it's one filled with the contact of one human reaching out to another.  A sweet friend of mine gave me a mug years ago because she knew how much I loved her hugs.  She just envelopes you in them - it's not just a quick squeeze, but one in which I felt wrapped up in the love she wanted to give.  The mug says "Free Hugs."  And I think of her every time I drink from it.  Who have you given a hug to today?  Who WILL you give a hug to today?

1 comment:

Diane H. Pitts said...

Love your comments, Erin, and have enjoyed our brief interaction at Grace.We had not been to Grace long before you and Mike were commissioned. It has been an incredible thing to see.
facebook page Diane H. Pitts Life Matters