Earlier this week, I went to visit my 95 year old mother in a nursing home in Maine. Covid 19 regulations demand that she cannot see anyone directly, so they bring her to a glass door where we talk on a cell phone. Another woman whose mother is lives in the same facility said to me, ” I can’t see a scenario in the foreseeable future where we are allowed to see them in the way we used to.” She could be right. The unexpected tragedy for many families is that many elderly may die without family present.
Lacking physical touch, what we are left with is words and we must all seek to use them as best we can. How are we doing?
Our recent Zoom guest Eddie Capparrucci remarked that men who struggle with sex addiction possess notoriously low emotional iQ’s, meaning we find it difficult to express sincere, genuine, honest, loving feelings. Leonard Cohen described us well in “Alleluia.”
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
Instead of feeling things out, we acted out. Instead of talking things out we killed love with lust. And now Covid 19 is here with its physical distancing and we are faced with the challenge and opportunity to connect with people through words rather than touch.
When I was in treatment 27 years ago, the treatment center had a “no touch” policy. Many still do. Why? Many reasons. Personal safety and space are part of it as well as restraining anyone who might want to take advantage of someone else. But a big reason is also that we need to be able to communicate feelings with words, rather than acting them out, often out of our brokenness. What we have in the Covid 19 protocols is an opportunity to express to others what they mean to us, to affirm them, bless them and yes, even ask them what we need from them. With touch removed, words mean more.
Learning to be vulnerable through words is a learned experience that takes years to develop. Perhaps we can each take this opportunity to get closer to those around us by using words. Then when we can touch again, it will be with deeper integrity, safety and honesty.
In Jesus, the Lust-Bearer,
Living Without Lust Inc.