Friday, November 21, 2014

How Much for a Hug?

Do you remember seeing a YouTube video of a man on a busy sidewalk holding a sign offering “Free Hugs”? At first people were skeptical and ignored him. Then a few people took him up on his offer and found it was a bargain. They took/gave a hug, and they cashed in on a surge of serotonin. They replenished their “happy hormone.” (

Everyone needs hugs and touching to maintain serotonin levels, so be eager to hug friends and family—and, even your pets (except fish).

Hugging relaxes muscles, releases tension in the body, lifts the spirit, and can even diminish pain.

I read about a professional cuddler in Portland, Washington, who is building a business based on hugs. Charging $35 per half hour and $60 per hour, she is booked out for two weeks at a time. While this might not be the best or safest idea, it does show how desperate people are to be hugged by someone.

Though the Bible gives us no command to “hug” one another, it is full of people kissing those they love. (Do a search for “kiss.”) And it does give us a command of sorts to “greet one another a holy kiss.” Maybe the next time we go to a church service, we should hold up a sign offering “Free Kisses.” And then, maybe not…

When my kids come home to visit, I wrap my arms around them and hold tightly and hold tightly and hold tightly. They say, “Mom, you give the best hugs!” And “Mom, I miss your hugs.” I like that. I want to be remembered as a good hugger. 

And the best part is that the huggER and the huggEE both benefit. What you give comes back to you. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Some say we need eight hugs a day to meet our emotional, mental and physical needs. I have no idea what the magic number is. I want to give/receive as many as I can. How many have you given/received today? How about giving a few more?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Finish Strong

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Gabriela ("Gaby") Andersen-Schiess ran in the women’s marathon in the 1984 Olympics. Twenty minutes after the winner, Joan Benoit, crossed the finish line, Gaby staggered into the stadium. The crowd gasped in horror and disbelief when they saw her. Something was evidently wrong—badly wrong.

Gaby’s body was twisted, her left arm hung limp, and her right leg was seized. Realizing that she was in the throes of heat exhaustion, the medical personnel started out on the track to offer her assistance. To everyone’s dismay, she waved them off, knowing that if they touched her, she would be disqualified from the race—a race that seemed impossible for her to finish.
After an excruciating 5 minute 44 second final lap, she fell across the finish line and received medical help. Thankfully within a couple of hours, she was revived and doing well.

The apostle Paul was fond of racing metaphors when he spoke of the need to persevere in our faith and commitment to Jesus, no matter what difficulties we may face—physically, emotionally, spiritually.
How easy it would have been for Gaby to give up, to quit the race. No one would have questioned that decision. But she was determined, and she ran with perseverance.
Think of the obstacles that get in the way of you running the race. Sometimes life is just plain hard! Illness, the death of someone we love, financial setbacks, a difficult marriage, estrangement from our children, and much more.
We each have a race marked out for us. The particulars of that race are different from those of other people’s race. But God calls us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Let’s encourage each other not to throw the towel in, not to give up on our faith when things get tough. Then at the end of a faithful life, we will be able to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)