Thursday, October 1, 2009

The "Soft Touch"

My dad's mother has it. The "soft touch." My Mema has a way with babies and children. When I was a child, I watched her calm a fussy little one with a quiet song. Something about her brings peace to the room. She crocheted afgans that gave comfort when we were away from her. The chief activity of her life has been nurturing; as wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend.

My dad has the "soft touch" too. Playing barefoot as a kid meant stepping on splinters and thorns. Dad had his way of taking them out painlessly. When he taught my brother and I to swing the bat or throw the football, he always said, "nice and easy." I hear his soft touch when he strums his guitar and in the gentle voice he uses with my kids.

The soft touch is not demanding, not controlling. The soft touch is smooth and relaxed. It's a physical touch, but also a manner, a gentle way.

For the past three days, I have heard a handful of stories of refugees around the world. Stories of how people overcame hardship to survive and make a new life. Stories about the continued struggle for food and water and a safe place to sleep. My heart is softened and I think about my grandmother and my dad. I think about how much the "soft touch" is needed in the world. A touch that welcomes, nurtures, comforts, and heals.

A pastor friend once told me, "I'd rather be known for being a little soft in the heart than a little hard in the heart."

Today, the words of Graham Kendrick are my prayer:

Soften my heart, Lord
Soften my heart
From all indifference
Set me apart
To feel your compassion
To weep with your tears
Come soften my heart, O Lord
Soften my heart

* The image is from Bob Gibbs Photo's Gallery