I read that an insurance company survey revealed that spouses who kiss their mates in the morning will probably live five years longer than those who don't. It also showed that the kissing mate will have fewer auto accidents and up to 50% less time lost from work due to illness. I won't begin to interpret what all this means, except that it seems that those people in intimate relationships seem to be happier and healthier.
But what about that "touching moment" -- that kiss? Is touching also important?
I once was asked to give some emotional support to a prisoner who was awaiting trial. We visited for a while in a prison conference room, talking about nothing more important than how long he may be incarcerated and whether or not he was guilty of the crime with which he was charged. He shared nothing of his deepest fears and yearnings. I felt as if we had not "connected" in any meaningful way.
Before I left, I took his hands. He held on tightly and dropped his head. No words were spoken -- we just held onto each other. After a moment, he began to cry. As he sobbed, he held tightly to my hands.
Somehow, the touch melted a dam of ice and now all his emotions gushed forth. When his sobbing subsided, he began to talk once more. Only this time he spoke of his fear and loneliness and he told me of his concern for his family while he was imprisoned. All the while, he never let go of my hands, and I hung onto his. Because of the touch, he felt safe enough to share deeply.
People are crying out to be touched in caring and appropriate ways. (I know a woman who goes to a massage therapist once a week, even when she feels fine, just because she needs that dose of physical contact.) The lack of touch is one of the greatest impediments to emotional intimacy and happiness.
When film star Marilyn Monroe was asked if she ever felt loved by any of the foster families with whom she lived, she replied, "Once, when I was about seven or eight. The woman I was living with was putting on makeup, and I was watching her. She was in a happy mood, so she reached over and patted my cheeks with her rouge puff... For that moment, I felt loved by her."
Maybe you are in need of more closeness. And perhaps you know of those who are hungry for some assurance that they are indeed loved; they are not alone. Your touch may accomplish what your words cannot -- for those touching moments can change a life.
~Steve Goodier (as seen in the Inspired Buffalo )