There are some things that a person needs to admit. Here it goes. I'm A Hugger!! Yep, full-fledged, 100%, hugger. I will hug my family. I will hug my friends. I will hug people that I just meet. I have hugged total strangers in a grocery store when they were able to find something that I had been searching the aisles for. I will hug children. I will hug adults. Whew - that's a load off my shoulders.
I'm in Human Resources and I train, on a yearly basis, the importance of "personal space", and how we need to respect that. I believe in what I train and it is never my intention to offend anyone with my hugs. I don't make a habit of going around work hugging people - no worries. I have been in the profession long enough. Yet, I believe there is something very powerful in a hug.
Many years ago, when I was in college, I began watching videos (yes, the old VHS ones) and reading books by Leo Buscaglia. His message of love, and hugs, left a huge mark on my heart. To this day, other than suggesting someone read The Bible, it is his books I suggest someone read to help heal their heart. What I have come to realize over the years (okay, that's a nice way of saying as I get older), is that the power of a hug brings another person so much. The power of which I speak is the power of the Holy Spirit.
Think about a time when someone gave you a heartfelt hug. Do you remember what it felt like? What words come to mind with that memory? Really, stop and think for a moment. How did you feel? Warm, safe, loved, honored, cherished, hopeful? Pretty powerful stuff - a hug.
Hugs come at different times in our lives. There are hugs we give to those that we know need the power of touch. Yes, sometimes holding someone's hand can do the trick. Yet, there are other times when a hug will only do. A hug when someone is crying. A hug in times of joy (yes, that was the grocery store example)!! A hug to a person you love, to let them know you care. A hug of reconciliation. We have used this type of hug in our family often. When our family may be in need of a family meeting in order to air differences, we will usually end in a family hug (they may moan and groan over it - but it always ends with laughter and smiles).
There are hugs that we receive during moments of despair, moments that may challenge us, difficult times. Those hugs seem to be filled with hope. They give us the feeling that things will be okay, that life will go on. We feel the safety of a hug which is what was needed for us to have faith, believe, have hope, for a better future. I have had the privilege of receiving many hugs like that over my 50 years. Hugs that I remember very vividly - that gave me the strength to keep on going, to reach for a new day.
Whether the hug is given or received, I find hope in hugs. When we think about those hugs that have been special to us over the years, we can see God sending the Holy Spirit, to reach out to us in such a unique way - a hug. It is how the Holy Spirit works - that is the power of the Holy Spirit. By working in us, through us, we can change hopeless situations into hopeful situations. So many people question these days whether there is hope. They say that they can't see hope for the future. I challenge that. I believe we feel hope every day. The grace of our Lord Jesus comes to this Earth every day. We each have the ability to give hope to another, and to receive the hope we may need. It is truly a blessing to reach out to another with hugs. Hugs of Hope.
Our Bible verse for today supports our image - Jesus hugging the children. What a powerful image!! I know there have been times when I desperately needed to feel Jesus' arms around me. He has provided that through the hug of a caring and loving family member or friend. How blessed I am! There will be a day when I will be able to hug my Heavenly Father - now THERE'S a hug I really look forward to giving! Until then, I will continue to reach out with hugs of hope for those around me, to let them know that Jesus is with them - the Holy Spirit will guide them - and God will be waiting for them in eternity. The next time you get a hug, receive it as the precious gift it is - from the person in front of you as well as from Jesus. More importantly, should the Holy Spirit tug at your heart to give someone a hug, don't stop. Let them know that you - as well as Jesus - is with them. May hope fill your world.
"Then he hugged the children and blessed them." (NIV) Mark 10:16