Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Importance of Touch

Numerous studies and much research have been done on the importance of touch. It has been shown that athletic teams who are high touch, i.e. high fives, chest bumps or pats on the derriere, perform better as a team. It is a universally accepted theory that babies in orphanages who are intentionally touched develop better both physically and emotionally. It has been demonstrated that the elderly benefit as well from touch. So the next time your husband/wife comes through the door at the end of a busy day give them a “high five” (or not, particularly if your spouse is over 60).

Hugs, foot massages, holding hands, a neck, back and/or shoulder massage, or even a touch on the arm can pay huge psychological dividends.

You may remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son. When the prodigal returned home his father ran to him, threw his arms around him and gave him a kiss. This put the apprehensive young man completely at ease and diffused what could have been a difficult home coming. Jesus most often healed with a touch, though he didn’t need to.

Perhaps this need for touch can be traced back to birth when many of us were shown affection by being held. Maybe it goes back to the time when our parents held our hands in a crowd so we wouldn’t get lost. It is possible that fond memories go back to our first date when holding a hand was one of the most romantic things we could do.

It has been said that holding hands is one of the most intimate expressions of love between two human beings. It is much more than a gesture of affection, so much greater than a mere symbol of connection, it is a way of communicating love.

There is a basic human need for physical touch, a need we never outgrow. There are some who think it is silly or undignified to hold hands. To you I say “get over yourself”. Love is one of the greatest gifts given us by the Lord, don’t waste a moment when you could express it.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Cracked Pots

O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter, we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

In his book Married for Life , Bill Morelan provides a beautiful analogy of how pottery is formed and how as married couples we experience a similar process:

When shaping a vessel, potters exert equal pressure with their hands on both the outside and the inside of the clay to prevent it from collapsing. After the clay dries, it is glazed and then placed in a fiery kiln. The intense heat perfects the clay by removing blemishes, strengthening it, and enhancing the paint colors. The once wet piece of clay is finally transformed into a beautiful and useful piece of pottery.

Marriage can be viewed as a similar work in progress. Like the clay, you and your spouse will constantly face various pressures from life- job changes, financial stress, parenting responsibilities, and the list goes on. To prevent your marriage from collapsing, you must respond to any external pressure with the internal pressure of a powerful relationship with the living God.

Just as clay is fired in a kiln, so will your marriage go through periods of intense heat. But remember that your heavenly Father is using these times to remove imperfections in your relationship and make it stronger and more beautiful. Face the difficult times together, and let the Lord mold and perfect your marriage, lifting you to higher levels of intimacy with each other and with Him.”
The reality is that on this side of heaven we will never be perfect pots. In fact I prefer Patsy Clairmont’s book title God Uses Cracked Pots. Cracked though we may be, God can and will use us to advance the Kingdom. As other couples see how we handle the difficulties of life it serves as a very loud witness to the Potter who created us all.