The Road to Hug Advocation.

This summer has made me think about a lot of things, but one of the things I’ve been thinking about lately has been hugs.  Yep, hugs.

Normally I wouldn’t classify myself as much of a “hugger.”  I’m not usually the person who hugs everyone when I see them, and things like “hug three people” after the fellowship circle at BCM usually make me slightly uncomfortable.  I think it’s my subconscious telling me that I don’t need to make myself more awkward than I already am.

It’s not that I don’t like hugs, because that’s not it at all.  And it’s not that I don’t want people to touch me because of germs or something ridiculous like that, because I have given hugs to some pretty dirty people.  The main this is that I’m usually just not the hug initiator.

Now I’m not making any promises, but I’m beginning to think that I’m changing in that aspect.

I’ve just realized lately that hugs can be special.  I don’t mean that in some cheesy, romantic way, I’ve just noticed that they can do some pretty cool things.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the best thing about hugs is that they can do just as much good to the person giving the hug as they do to the person receiving the hug.

Like when I hugged my bawling camper in order to calm her down, not only did it help her, but it brought me joy just to know that she was able to find that comfort in my arms.  Even when she had only known me for two short days.

Or when I picked up a crying Haitian toddler and held him tight, not only did he stop crying, but him clinging to my neck was a little reassurance that just sharing the love I’m blessed enough to receive can make that much of a difference.

& Another nifty thing I’ve noticed about hugs is that the people I hang out with are pretty dang good at giving them out right when I need them.  And I think I’ve decided that those are the best ones: the ones that are at the perfect time but you don’t even have to ask for.

Like when I would have a rough day at camp and another counselor would just walk us and give me a hug.  They were always able to make me feel better without even saying a word.

Or when my camper, who I wouldn’t even expect to pick up on my tried-to-be-hidden emotions, would ask for a hug of put their arm around me at just the right time.

Or even when a friend would hug me or lay their head on my shoulder when I was exhausted in Haiti.  Just that much can make a difference.

So as I’ve been reflecting on hugs and how much they can do, my opinions have been changing.  And I appreciated that “hug everyone and tell them you love them” on our last night in Haiti a little more that I usually would have (even if there were still a couple slightly uncomfortable moments mixed in.)

So I may not be a hug advocate just yet, and I hope to never be that crazy girl who hugs everyone fourteen times a day, but I think I will try to give out a few more than I usually do.

So we’ll see how that goes.  Hopefully I’ll be able to comfort and encourage a few people and avoid being sprayed with Mace at the same time…

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