Jan. 12, 2017

A Hug A Day Keeps The Psychiatrist Away

“A Hug a Day Keeps The Psychiatrist Away.” Ziggy

“A hug is like a boomerang...you get it back right away!” Bill Keane

I’m all in favor of hugs, the more the better. Especially nice are hugs from small children who launch themselves at you with such enthusiasm that you need to have someone sturdy stand behind you so you don’t crash to the ground like Sequoia’s giant 2,000 + years old drive-thru redwood that fell earlier this week. I don’t know if everybody out there has been driven through that tree, but I have memories of being a small child and going to Sequoia National Park with my Nana, my Aunt Helen, and her best friend, Florence Brown. I was 5-ish at the time and remember being shaken into a bathing suit that was way too small by my Aunt and Florence who were laughing so hard they could hardly stuff my stocky little self into it. Being pretty much covered up, I was then allowed to splash in a creek so cold, so clear, so beautiful that I can picture it still. Sequoia wasn’t quite as crowded then as it is now, and we were able to sit out in the sun on flat rocks, eat our sandwiches and just enjoy the beauty. A place like that, in a moment like that is a hug. And I’m sure that we drove through that tree, too.

The 23rd Psalm, by David, a shepherd himself, is most definitely a hug.

“The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil:

for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  KJV

I don’t know about you, but just reading this, thinking about this makes me feel hugged. When our youngest daughter, Crissy - now the amazing mom of Jessie and Emily, our Texas girls – was almost five years old, she was struck by a car and lingered in a coma between this world and the next for ten days. Her doctor, a gentle, quiet man named Dr. Wright, told us to talk to her, to sing to her, to play cassettes of her favorite music for her and so we did. John and I held hands over her and prayed this psalm, so many times, frequently with tears. We played Sesame Street songs, “Rubber Ducky, You’re the One,” “Doin’ the Pigeon,” “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green,” and she came back to us. These were all hugs.

If you’re still making New Year’s resolutions, here are a few suggestions: This first one from my friend and fellow author/blogger, Michelle Griep:

“It’s a new year. Be awesome. Wear a helmet. Don’t forget to call your mom.Or your therapist. Whatever. Be real.”

To that I would like to add: floss your teeth, write thank you letters for anything someone gives you, or for something nice someone does. Read your Bible. Yeah, I know, you’ve already read it, but it’s not The Girl On The Train, friends, it’s God’s letter to us, telling us He loves us. Look around you. Notice stuff. Like flowers and trees and butterflies and bees. And people. Buy a tomato plant at OSH or Home Depot and put it in a pot in a sunny spot and water it once in a while and you’ll be so excited when a tomato appears. Say nice things to people. Smile. Hug.

Eat healthier. Walk more. Look at sunrises and sunsets and what other people are doing in their yard. Be silly once in a while. Find a cause to believe in. Learn to do something new. And read. Read a lot.

Lastly on the subject of hugs, words are hugs, too...

“Promise me you’ll always remember, you’re braver than you believe,stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” Winnie the Pooh