I Need a Hug!

Lord, how I need a hug. Since the COVID-19 distancing guidelines went into effect last March I haven’t had a real hug from a friend anywhere. I realize this is a shared need; all of us crave human interaction. But for a southerner, this is unusually cruel. And for an extrovert southerner who lives alone for the first time in his life it is almost, well,  catastrophic.

First COVID-19. And then came the ice and snow. Iced-in – I couldn’t leave my house! – is not a good place to be for an extrovert who lives alone! I tried calling all of my extrovert friends, but I think now I’ve abused the privilege.

When we southerners meet each other on the street, in the grocery, at the funeral home, at a party or at church we usually greet each other with a hug. And this hug is given despite genders or age. It’s our version of the strong-gripped handshake. It says, “I am happy to see you.” Some huggers are simply pros at it. My grandmother was one of the best, a little short lady who always wore a dress – I never saw her in anything else, and who always had a spot of flour somewhere about her face. Her hug was like a warm blanket! We grandchildren sought her out because of the comfort and peace she radiated.

Whenever we hear bad news affecting most anyone, we respond with hugs. Deep and heartfelt, they are meant to show how we are sharing the pain or sorrow. In fact, for many words aren’t even necessary. Just that hug.

I’ve become a part of a new church family here in Nashville and I’ve made new friends. But I haven’t had a single hug yet!

Well, the ice is melting and we’re vaccinating people. The days are getting longer and I’m watching robins on my back fence. Things seem to be changing. So when can we hug? Will the CDC release a “hug advisory?” Will cities and states include that in their plans? Could we add “Hugs” to phase 1C? Please?

O Lord, how I need a hug. And I’ll bet you do too. When it happens I say we initiate a giant “group hug” for everyone who needs one. We can call it “Hug Day.” I’m all in.

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