Her bright smile and exuberant personality rushed toward me with arms outstretched. I braced myself for the inevitable hug. I am hugged every time she sees me coming and going. I am hugged before and after a prayer. I am hugged at the beginning and the end of meetings. Her hugs surround me.
The problem you ask?
I am NOT a hugger. I do not have a strong desire for physical touch. My first thought is not to squeeze someone in love. Nor is it my second thought. It's not that my parents didn't lovingly embrace me as a child or that my husband is not attentive. It's not that all my physical love is doled out to the kids during the day and I haven't any hugs left in reserve. Outside of my immediate family, I am just not a touchy-feely kind of person.
Is my discomfort with friendly hugs a result of keeping people at a distance? Of controlling who and what I let get close to my heart? Is it an attempt at protecting my ultra-sensitive feelings?
Yes to all the above.
All these "Deep thoughts with Niki Carbajal" made me wonder if I keep Jesus at a distance too. Do I pray just enough to stay in regular communion with Him but keep all the "real"conversation for my earthly friends? Do I spend just enough time in His Word to learn some Biblical facts, head knowledge, while not allowing Him to teach me the personal application? Do I have one foot on the water and the other securely chained to the boat?
Sometimes. Yes. Oftentimes.
He never fails me though. His arms are always outstretched, welcoming me into their loving cover. His smile and warmth outshines even that of my friend. He has never and will never stop offering me an everlasting hug.
His tenderness softens my heart. His willingness to continuously welcome me home inspires me to share His comfort with others. I realize now that is what my friend was doing all along. Passing on the comfort of the one who has comforted all of us.
Now, I look forward to that 1000-watt smile coming toward me with open arms. Now I get it. So, watch out world! Let hugs abound!
How precious is Your loving kindness, O God ! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. PS 36:7