Juan Mann, from Sydney Australia, began a great “free hugs” movement a few years ago, and it spread around the globe! We all love hugs, and my guest, Daryl Francis, tells us his special experience. Thanks, Daryl (with a hug).
Sometimes I see patterns in life, in my experiences of life. Perhaps we all have something to learn from the patterns that crop up in our own daily walk through life. I know I do. Perhaps we all do. Trouble is, life seems to go past at such a pace sometimes that we don’t take the moments needed to see what’s going on right where we are.
This weekend I’ve seen how what we take into thought can have a direct bearing on our experience and that of others.
[Last Saturday morning] I smiled at a short article in the Herald Sun titled “Hug someone and be healthy.” It was telling of some studies that show that men who hug more often tend to be much healthier and earn more money. So, I gave my wife a hug then and there. Money didn’t come flying through the window, but it felt pretty good. The article even suggested that men who hugged more tended to be slimmer. Maybe I need to give a few more hugs!
I didn’t see it right then, but a pattern was beginning to form.
Saturday afternoon, my wife and I ended up having a bit of afternoon tea on a street we wouldn’t normally be in. Our best efforts to go to our “usual” spot had failed. A very drunk and noisy man came down the street, upsetting a few people along the way. He eyed us off for a moment and asked if he could sit with us as he dragged up a chair. He told us that the police had just chased him off the nearby beach for disturbing the peace. We had an interesting conversation about work and relationships, and he began to feel that he was valuable. Part way through the conversation he got up, and asked if he could give me a hug, which he did. A few people on another table were wearing higher eyebrows I’m sure! A while later he got up to go, leaving his large container of beer behind, not shouting at all and sundry, and walking surely.
Hugs in the morning, hugs in the afternoon! Healing all round.
Next day, arriving at church on Sunday morning, I noticed several young men in the little garden we have out the front with their “stubbies” and “tinnies” (bottles and cans) of alcoholic drinks lined up on the bench out there, making ready to have a “good time” in the garden. Going in to church I asked myself whether I should have asked them to move along. No answer. So I asked myself how God was seeing these party makers. The answer that came as I sat down on the pew was along the lines of “These are My beloved sons – each of them is cared for, watched over, beloved and protected.” (lines from a hymn we sometimes sing). I really felt that God was giving each of them a big hug – that they were deeply loved, not needing to get drunk to feel happy. Then I asked myself what would be best for everyone. The answer should not have surprised me: engage with them rather than alienate them. It’s what led to the hug on the street the day before.
Jesus did not chase off the lepers when they approached, he reached out, touched them and they went on their way, healed. He did not see them as undesirables. Healing them was better than chasing them off, on so many levels.
The party makers were gone before the end of the service, and had not disturbed us at all.