Darwin didn’t know anything about hammers, nails or carpentry. He was a banker who could build a portfolio but not a cupboard.

Yet there was a simple repair which required a couple of nails in a cabinet in his garage, so he decided to take the hammer from the drawer and do the work himself. He lined up the nail, failed to pay adequate attention, and ended up slamming his hand with the hammer.

It was shocking and it hurt.

The first thing he did was drop the hammer, take his right hand, reach over, and caress his wounded hand.

It was natural.

We all do it.

We have a toothache–we put our hand up to cradle our jaw.

A sore knee means that one of our hands will reach down and touch the hurtful area and massage it.

Built within the mechanism of our humanity is a notion that we have a “healing touch.” We instinctively want to touch the area of our body that is aching, bleeding or sore.

Yet for some reason, over the years we’ve denied this innate gesture–thinking it was either too religious or too intrusive.

There is one thing for sure–pain brings physical discomfort, but it also invites great emotional distress. Simply having one, two or many friends gather around us and lay their hands on us to express their empathy and tenderness always immediately heals the “emotional distress portion” of the problem.

People say they don’t believe in miraculous healing. Fine. But even if there were no God, there is still healing in every person’s hands, to reach into the soul and heart of another traveler, and for a few minutes–or maybe forever–alleviate the anxiety and terror that accompanies a diagnosis.

If I had a friend who was living thousands of miles away and I found out he was ill, I would call all my family and acquaintances together, purchase an oversized t-shirt and have everybody wear it for twenty seconds, then pack it up and send it to my friend, with the explanation that it was filled with the touch of all his supporters. He should wear it with confidence.

When a woman believed that a carpenter from Nazareth could heal her by touching the garments which were clinging to his body–well, she was miraculously cured because of her faith.

I’m not trying to pretend that any of us are Jesus, but I’m also not trying to live my life like I’m a clumsy monkey’s uncle.

Touch has mercy.

Touch has healing.

It is a way we can intervene in the lives of those around us who are suffering. For we will never know how much virtue we have within us that can be passed along through our compassionate fingertips.

If there’s a need for healing, touch someone.

The worst thing that can happen is closeness.

Published by Jonathan Cring