This morning on my way to college, I overheard a conversation from the two girls sitting behind me. So I got online this evening and researched what I heard.
I was mortified.
Schools in California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Iowa, Florida, Texas and even in Cambridge, England, have enforced hugging bans and no-touch rules.
Watch the news video here.
I cannot believe that some schools have now said that high school students cannot hug one another, cannot even high-five one another. Where is the sense in that? There is no sense in it!
Touching is one of the most important things in life. And the world has been warping it into something scary and untrustworthy. The world has become so paranoid, so apprehensive, so panicky about everything. People see something unusual or strange and they mold it into something that is ‘wrong’ or ‘disturbing’ and they flinch at it, when all it is is ‘different’, and in many cases an unusual form of ‘beauty’. Teenagers are terrified of the opposite sex (or the same sex if they are so inclined) because the world has made love (which is the greatest gift God has given us, and is God completely) something to back away from, to shudder at, to keep locked away behind closed doors out of fear.
Sometimes all we need is a hug. A hold. Someone to put a hand on another’s shoulder, reassuringly letting them know that everything is ok. That they are not alone. To remind them that they are loved.
You can’t put a ban on that. Take a look at the Gospels again, and remember everything that Jesus Christ stood for. Lived for. Died for. He held hundreds of people close not just to his heart, but to his body too. John (the Beloved) had his head on Jesus’ shoulder/chest! Jesus put spittle on a man’s eyes! Spittle! A woman craved just to touch Jesus’ garment, knowing that she would be well if she could. When people touched Jesus and when Jesus touched others, he healed them. And when we touch others we heal them too, with God’s Spirit inside us. And this is such a beautiful thing. Such a holy thing.
We have bodies. We’re meant to use them. Love and touch aren’t things that we are meant to be afraid of. We need to remind each other of that. A simple touch brings to life the light inside you. Allows you to recognize who you are and to recognize that you are loved.
One of my favourite things in the world is the Peace in Anglican church services. But only if it’s done right. I can’t bear it when a congregant mumbles the words and quickly shakes your hand whilst looking in another direction. But when you find someone who’s willing to look into your eyes as they clasp your hand or embrace you in a hug and truly mean the words that come from their lips… then you’re sharing something Real. And when we stand together in a circle around the church, forming a big ring of equality and peace and joining hands and coming together as one people in unity… that’s what Jesus wanted. Wants. For us to be open with one another. To care for one another. Not to hide away and judge people for innocent actions and make everything 10 million times bigger than it really is and dirty it! Lives are precious. And they are meant to be shared. How can we share our lives with others if we can’t touch them… if we’re brought up to be afraid of changing lives and healing one another…