The Magic of a Child’s Touch

Doorway To the Soul, The Magic of a Child’s Touch

Did you ever hold an infant or small child close to you and experience the way he or she will explore your face. The child is not at all hesitant to examine your face from a distance of even six inches. He will reach out and touch your cheeks, tweak your eyebrows, feel your nose. Utterly fascinated at the adventure, he will reach back and put his tiny fingers in your ears, all the while gazing intently at you, almost as though he is trying to see through your face into your soul.

I remember the first time I had this experience feeling initially sort of embarrassed at the closeness of the child’s face to mine. Wow! I was not used to that level of intimacy. Yet, something in me delighted in the innocent curiosity of a child. I found myself surrendering to my daughter’s intense exam, permitting her every move. Her tiny hands explored my face with a sense of wonder. Age spots, moles, she didn’t miss a wrinkle or blemish. It was all there in front of her. My naked face lay open to her eyes. No judgment was made on my facial flaws. No, she accepted my aging skin as she accepted me, unconditionally.

I recalled this experience the other day when a close friend of mine told me she was going to treat herself to a facial massage. My curiosity was aroused and I asked her what exactly happened at a facial massage. She told me it was very relaxing. The masseuse applies a soothing lotion to the face, working the oils in gently to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of the facial muscles. The idea is to hide the blemishes of age and keep the skin feeling and looking younger.

I thought to myself, the adult to adult facial massages have little in common with the child to adult version. A child peering at your face is not trying to improve your appearance at all. The little one takes our pockmarks and warts in stride. We are who we are. He loves our wrinkles and sagging skin because they are part of us. They come with the territory, belonging to the person they love.

That’s why our hearts melt in the presence of innocent children. They seem to see right through our flaws into the soul within. Their love is pure because they see the goodness that lies within even the most imperfect of us.

We can’t ask professional therapists to give us facials that compare with those we receive from children. Only babies and little kids have the gift, maybe because only children look upon the face of God.

Measure of a Person LIes not in Feelings But in Actions

The Measure of a Person Lies not in Feelings but in Actions

Rabbi Kushner, author of “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” tells the story of a young couple who asked him to officiate at their marriage. They requested that he change the words of the wedding ceremony from “until death do us part” to “as long as our love shall last.” When the Rabbi asked them why they wanted the change, the couple explained, “We would not want to stay together if we no longer loved one another.” Shucks! Isn’t that beautiful? No it’s not.

Kushner, to his credit, turned down their request. He told them that yes he understood that many marriages end in divorce but there is something more important at stake than how they may “feel” about one another in 20 years. “Love, real love,” said the Rabbi, “calls for commitment to one another.” Commitment trumps feelings anytime just as real love goes way beyond infatuation.

Feelings, it seems to me, have taken center stage in today’s culture. For some, feelings have become the sole arbiter of what is right or wrong. If something feels right, it is right.
Not in my book. What makes us truly moral human beings is not how we feel towards one another but how we act.

I recall a woman in a support group I facilitated for caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Her 90-year-old Mom, while in the final stages of her dementia, had just staged another miraculous recovery from a heart attack. “I was afraid Mom was going to die,” said her daughter. “At the same time,” she admitted, “I was afraid she wouldn’t.” She looked at the rest of the group for our reaction, perhaps a little embarrassed at the implications of what she had said. She needn’t have been ashamed. Everyone in the group could relate to what she was experiencing. No one knows mixed feelings better than caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s.

What was far more important was that she was hanging in there. She continued to stand by her Mom despite her mixed feelings. It’s been said that half the battle in life is simply showing up. This daughter may have felt like walking but she continued to show up for her mom.

Rabbi Kushner was making the same point to the young couple on the verge of marriage. Commitment trumps feelings anytime.

The Measure of a Person Lies not in Feelings but in Actions

Rabbi Kushner, author of “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” tells the story of a young couple who asked him to officiate at their marriage. They requested that he change the words of the wedding ceremony from “until death do us part” to “as long as our love shall last.” When the Rabbi asked them why they wanted the change, the couple explained, “We would not want to stay together if we no longer loved one another.” Shucks! Isn’t that beautiful? No it’s not.

Kushner, to his credit, turned down their request. He told them that yes he understood that many marriages end in divorce but there is something more important at stake than how they may “feel” about one another in 20 years. “Love, real love,” said the Rabbi, “calls for commitment to one another.” Commitment trumps feelings anytime just as real love goes way beyond infatuation.

Feelings, it seems to me, have taken center stage in today’s culture. For some, feelings have become the sole arbiter of what is right or wrong. If something feels right, it is right.
Not in my book. What makes us truly moral human beings is not how we feel towards one another but how we act.

I recall a woman in a support group I facilitated for caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Her 90-year-old Mom, while in the final stages of her dementia, had just staged another miraculous recovery from a heart attack. “I was afraid Mom was going to die,” said her daughter. “At the same time,” she admitted, “I was afraid she wouldn’t.” She looked at the rest of the group for our reaction, perhaps a little embarrassed at the implications of what she had said. She needn’t have been ashamed. Everyone in the group could relate to what she was experiencing. No one knows mixed feelings better than caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s.

What was far more important was that she was hanging in there. She continued to stand by her Mom despite her mixed feelings. It’s been said that half the battle in life is simply showing up. This daughter may have felt like walking but she continued to show up for her mom.

Rabbi Kushner was making the same point to the young couple on the verge of marriage. Commitment trumps feelings anytime.