We continue to recover from the absence of hugs due to COVID-19. The joy we have experienced in being able to hug family and friends from whom we have been isolated for so long. These past months have caused great suffering and many are those who were separated from a family member because of the dreaded virus. The greatest grief in the midst of so much grief has been the inability to hug a loved one as death drew close.
In these posts I have attempted to offer a poem for you to ponder, to stop for a moment and pause, to reflect and be renewed. Today, its not a poem I offer, but a short piece of prose. Padraig O Tuama is an Irish poet , storyteller and theologian. In his book In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World, Padraig has given us a wonderful collection of thoughts and ponderings. Read his short piece on the subject of hugs. As you read, allow your imagination to take you beyond the page. Where do his words take you?
Padraig O Tuama –
For years I counted hugs.
One in Donegal with Annette.
Then Two, two years later, at a summer camp.
Then Three, unexpectedly, after a party.
When I was eightneen, I remember the count was up to thirty.
I knew them all. Does the counting of hugs count as one lone-
liness or many? What I do know is that it was a far superior
replacement for the comparison of body shapes and sizes with
my contempories. To count the squeezings of the heart is to
count certain encounters with others, and this is a thing shared,
not a thing compared. It was not a race to a goal but a map of
love travelled and love hoped for. (from In The Shelter p.152)
Lord, I will trust You,
help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.
I will believe You for my future,
chapter by chapter, until all the story is written.
Focus my mind and my heart upon You.
Strengthen me with Your blessing.
Tune my spirit to the music of heaven. Amen.