Vive le Hand-holding!

Posted: December 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

img_1265Last night, just before drifting to sleep, I made the following note:

“I have a longing to touch and be touched, a desire for reciprocity, an act of mutuality. I have written in my journal about holding hands. As I reflect on hand-holding, I see it as a metaphor for something much deeper and more profound. I’m not thinking of something demonstratively sexual, though sexuality is a factor. What I’m talking about is something deeper and more spiritual.”

Reflecting on those late-night notes, I feel the need for illumination. After all, a thought at 11:00 p..m. looks different at 7:00 the next morning. So, I’ll expound upon hand-holding a little more.

Actually, I’m not talking about hand-holding per se. The spiritual side of hand-holding goes beyond intentional flesh to flesh touching. Holding hands is a deeper acknowledgment of the existence of another person then what’s experienced in a simple greeeting.

“Hi, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. How are you?”

“I’m find, and you”?

Holding hands has moved past such a greeting and has gone to a deeper level of mutual acknowledgement of existence. It’s like eye contact that goes deeper and lasts longer than casual acknowledgment of presence. It’s like saying “I see you, I really see you, and I want to know you more deeply,” but saying it with physical touch—”I like you being near me; your presence in my life is really important, so much so that I don’t want to let you go until I know you more deeply.”

This spiritual depth experienced in the lingering touch of hand-holding is not just one person declaring such deep personal feelings and desires to another person. Rather, there is a profound mutuality in hand-holding, an act of equal importance to both people. It ushers them into being vulnerable to each other. This reciprocity—an exchange of feelings, desires, respect, acceptance, and trust—is bound up in this touch of bare flesh on bare flesh. It demonstrates peace and trust and forgiveness each to the other. It declares that there is openness between the two people whose hands are clasped. It’s each acknowledging to the other that “I want to know you, and I want you to want to know me.”

To want to hold hands with someone is a desire to reach out to them in a deeper level than spoken language. If the reach for a hand is met with an extended hand, a deeper conversation of mutual touch has been engaged. This is true when considering hand-holding between lovers or with friends.

The language of hand-holding is not reserved for youth, although it is a significant experience of youths discovering each other’s deeeper realities. It is a natural language of human interaction regardless of age. As spoken language holds the potential for mutual understanding of the head and heart, so hand-holding grasps the potential for communication of the soul.

Vive le hand-holding!

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