In the business sense, holding hands carries the connotation of an employee who is incapable of following instructions without someone “holding his hand.” Musically, a song about holding hands was a runaway hit for a new group called the Beatles. But, as you would expect, I am taking the idea of holding hands in a different direction.
For those of you who have been following some of my latest communications, you know that my wife had a ruptured brain aneurysm three weeks ago. Yesterday, while still in the hospital, she suffered a second rupture. Today is Sunday, October 16, 2016. For the last five hours I have been sitting beside her bed in the ICU holding her hand. Due to her sedation, and the swelling of her brain, she won’t remember that I was here, but even before this event we frequently held hands while we walked, talked, sat on the sofa, and slept. We have been married for 34 years, and we hold hands now more than ever.
My holding her hand today says many things. “I’m right here sweetheart.” “I love you.” “I’m not going anywhere.” My presence beside her, hand in hand, speaks volumes to both of us and to others. I will gladly sit here for hours. I don’t find it tedious. I find it an amazing privilege.
If I were to reach out and grab the hand of her nurse the next time she comes in to check on my wife, my overture would not be welcome and could even be considered sexual harassment. We seem to have become a culture of harassers and those of us who are so afraid we don’t even want to risk being misunderstood. I can tell you without any doubt that many have held my wife’s hand in the last three weeks and all have done so with the right motives.
I will not try to sort out the potential mine field I just exposed. That was not my intention from my start. I am writing with one purpose in mind; a touch, holding a hand, in the right time and place and with the right intentions is good medicine! It is my prayer, and the prayer of literally thousands who are praying for my wife, that she will one day come home again, we will hold hands while we walk together, talk together, sit on the sofa together, and sleep together.
So why did I write this blog? I direct a ministry to a people group that can go days, weeks, and months without being touched by anyone other than a caregiver. They long for a visit, a touch, or a hug from a familiar face or from a stranger. People all around us are needy, even you and me. So, I have a prescription for you that I know works. Go visit a senior. In the course of the exchange, if you feel it appropriate to do so, reach out and hold a hand or rest your hand on their shoulder. The unspoken communication is mutually healing.
Elder Source Senior Ministries