Saturday, January 21, 2012


"It takes four hugs a day just to survive..."
Overall it had been an interesting worship service.  About what I had expected. Loud music, charismatic speaker.  I was seated in the front left corner, a perfect spot to lip read the speaker and the musicians.

"eight hugs a day to maintain..."
This is where things were starting to get confusing for me.  What kind of benediction was this? Some sort of feel good benediction to get us through the week?  Something that lacked theological support, something to keep from offending people from various denominations.

"twelve to really grow...."
This was all making sense to me. Hugs are good.  Hugs help you feel connected.  Being connected is good.  This was something I could carry with me through the week, think about as I made new friends in a new place.

"You decide"
The room erupted.  Everyone was hugging everyone else. What was going on? Why were all these people okay with it?

I froze.

That first night was was overwhelming.

Fast forward four years.

I was sitting at the church service just before graduation. The same pastor was speaking that first night. I watched his every word.  We stood for the benediction.  I waited for the words I had come to expect every week.   They didn't come.  My heart broke a little.  Many of us hugged anyways and then we left. A few hours later we graduated.

What had changed in those four years?  Four years.  A very short portion of my life, yet a part of my life that I will never, ever forget.  These people became my family.  They were the ones who held me when I cried, made me laugh so hard that my nose wiggled, and went on adventures with me.  We shared incredible joys and we shared incredible sorrows with each other.  We celebrated as friends got engaged and married, we mourned as friends died. We had fights and we made up afterwards.
But then we left.

We promised to stay in touch, but we still left.
And some of us did stay in touch, but some of us...

I wish I could go back, back to those four years, back to that last day with them and hug and hug and hug.
I wish I had people here that I could hug like that. I wish I had a community that hugged like that.

Four hugs a day just to survive, eight to maintain, twelve to grow.  You decide.

1 comment:

Valerie said...