Touch has been seen down through the ages as the oldest and most urgent sense. When we reach out to others, it often creates bonds that words cannot equal. Touch also breaks down walls of isolation and opens doors to communion and true camaraderie.

In an enlightening feature for The Christian Century, Brian Doyle, the editor of Portland Magazine, takes a creative and caring look at a wedding and "the ways and means and manners by which people gently touch each other, and so communicate this and that and other things."

He adores the way fathers express affection for their children by gently laying their hands on their necks. He marvels at the ease with which a woman slips her arm into her man's arm as they step through the door.

Some men are more relaxed touching the shoulder of another man rather than going through the formality of shaking hands. Doyle sees it as a gesture of respect and affection. Women are even more bold as they kiss each other on the lips as a sign of relaxed togetherness and soulful unity.

Doyle ends this act of witnessing with a tribute to the elders who reveal a genuine pleasure in touching their fellow beings and being touched in return: ". . . they know better than anyone else how ancient and holy and moving it is to touch and be touched, and they are going to touch and be touched as much as possible in the time granted them to touch and be touched."

Doyle's essay encourages us to look for examples in our daily life of how human touch, conveying love, affection, and unity, creates meaningful moments of grace. We encourage you to do the same.


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