A Touch in Winter

Spiritual winters are long.

It doesn’t matter how many days you’re there; it is the weight of winter. The heaviness you feel is almost as exhausting as the emptiness.

It can leave you wondering if there actually IS an end to this dark valley.

My family recently went through a “winter-like” experience. Surely it was small in comparison to some. Yet we must always remember that length of days or types of crises are not the focus; the people going through them are. We all experience winter in different ways, and we all need a glimpse of hope.

So many times when others are struggling we keep our distance. We either don’t know what to say or we don’t want to “catch” whatever they have. Those going through winter are already going into isolation. Our poor responses can come across as telling them they should stay away.

Ever been on the receiving end of those responses? One word describes your state of mind, heart and soul in this spiritual winter.

Alone.

I’m reminded of the story of someone who must have felt the sting of winter deeply. One who was an outcast. One whose mere presence sent people to the other side of the street. A lonely leper.

Until…

“And behold, a leper came to (Jesus) and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.’ And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matthew 8:2-3, ESV)

Jesus could have walked to the other side of the road. He could have healed him in any number of different ways. But He didn’t.

He touched him.

Whether you want to be touched or not, there’s something mysterious about touch when you’re going through a crisis. People who have never hugged before seem to squeeze harder than ever when a friend or acquaintance experience the loss of a loved one. It’s as if we all know that it is the right and acceptable thing to do.

The crisis may not be leprosy. It may not be the loss of a dear relative. It may be a struggle at work. It may be the frustration of not being the parent you want to be. It may be something you’ve brought on yourself that catapults you into isolation.

IS there an end to the valley? Is there a way to give that glimpse of hope to someone who is struggling?

A gentle touch.

A hand on the shoulder that reminds you that you are not alone. A hug that warms your very heart knowing you are loved and lovely no matter what you have done or what you’ve been through. A hand held that brings healing so complete that you feel it in your soul.

A touch can melt the icy cold of winter and open your heart and eyes to a glorious spring.

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