Remember this commercial? AT&T 1987 “Reach out and touch someone”, AT&T hoped, would inspire us to give that special someone a call. Long distance was just a phone call away. Spend a little time with your friend or loved one. They’re worth it.
That was before cell phones and the internet made everyone feel like they were in your living room even though they weren’t. No need to reach out when we’re all right here!
Yesterday, I got a call from someone scheduling a service appointment. (That’s the way they do things here in Williamsburg — they call. no text. no email.) She was apologetic. Hadn’t written down my request and now was trying to make things right. We’ve never met, but out of the blue she tells me, “You wouldn’t believe what I did yesterday.” Turns out this woman’s fishing excursion at the pier gave her a front row seat for the shooting of 4 people: 2 adults and 2 children. One of the children is in very critical condition after having been shot in the spine. “I hope he makes it,” she said.
This morning as I fumble with words to express how the world leaves me feeling these days, I have landed here on the blog with you. I am also reading a book by the late Candace Pert, PhD, called Molecules of Emotion. It addresses the bodymind network of connection and the power of our emotions to effect our physical and mental well-being. Indeed, it has called my attention to the power of the negative in our world which is stealing, not only our attention, but our health.
I had just seen headlines about this shooting because it was a “most read” item in the digital distribution of our local paper. It begged me to click… and be tormented. I started and then stopped. The woman who witnessed it now cannot stop. So much so that she is confessing it to a total stranger.
This brings me back to what I set out to do here at the KC blog. To offer a word of hope or help that originates from our physical nature. Heck, if I get stuck on something I head for my bicycle so I can get a good think. In recent days, I have started and stopped so many drafts of posts because what I have to say here seems irrelevant (perhaps even irreverent, given all the calls for thoughts and prayers) compared to all the “big” things happening in our world. What can one voice, one person, one soul offer that could possibly contend?
Suddenly, I hear the late, great Aretha Franklin calling us …
“Reach out and touch
Make this world a better place
If you can…”
How many times has a gentle hand or a loving word touched me? These are the things that still resonate as the chemistry of memory that my “bodymind” stores. Still there to lift me up. There to supply. There to inspire. Surely, there to drown out the sounds of hopelessness that pervade our headlines. There is always a reason for hope. It comes to us one touch at a time as we offer it one person at a time.
Who is the one who reached out and touched you? May we all go and do likewise.
It’s terrible having sticky fingers.
No, not the kind that pull what doesn’t belong to you
off the department store shelves.
I’m no thief.
I don’t steal stuff.
I feel stuff.
Or it’s smooth and supple,
nothing that can ruffle.
My fingers smile
as they tiptoe across.
with no hindrance,
into the secret garden, greenery
no one has ever bent before.
None have ever traced this path.
No one has made this journey,
of fingertips along the way.
“Here comes Sticky Fingers!”
I know they’re saying,
when they see me coming their way.
A solo treasure that’s all mine.
Not to keep, of course.
That would be stealing.
I’m no thief, you know.
Don’t take what’s not mine.
I leave it for the next sticky fingers.
Who I don’t know.
Sticky fingers don’t leave prints.
They take touch with them,
gently rubbing, tracing, mixing,
to the texture meant
to touch another.
Not so terrible, really.
The woman sitting near me is a mother. I know because she is carrying a child with beautiful dark eyes. The eyes are all I can see.
Tiny hands wrap around mother’s waist. Tiny toes spread as far as they can, brushing against each other in their suspension.
This gaze somehow haunts me. Burqa baby’s eyes don’t return my smile and her hands do not return my wave. I am the other. This mother is engrossed in her doings: screen, journal, computer. She doesn’t see me staring – or even snapping a photo. I hesitate and then, secretly, I reach over to touch these tiny pink toes. Just to offer a moment of touch.
Are we so engaged in our media, entranced by it’s siren song, that we carry our children like packages on our backs? Do we know we are denying them interaction with their world while we enjoy artificial interaction in our own?