Friday, August 31, 2012

Why Everyone Needs to be Hugged

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On Wednesday, I went to a Random Acts of Kindness meeting, because I wanted to hug people. Because I come from the Midwest, which is a very hugging place. Moving to Florida, made me realize how important hugs are. And how much I missed them and my friends back home. At my school, RAK does what's known as Free Hug Fridays every Friday from 11 to 1, but I can only do it for the last hour or so because of class. 

It was awkward at first, just standing there with the sign, but we were outside the bookstore where a lot of people go and so there were a ton of people walking past. It was busy! I didn't expect so many people to need a hug. I didn't expect that at all. 

Because we are told that we are strong, that we can be independent, that we don't need anyone, but none of that is true. We need each other. That is one reason hugs are important. They connect us. They let us leave a mark on someone we might never see again, a connection, a touch, a hug, a place. A sense that we are not alone. A sense that we know it's not true, that it's a lie to say that we can do life on our own. We need each other. 

Throughout my hour of giving maybe 30 or so hugs, I had one muslim woman take my picture. I had one guy get off a bike to give me a hug. I got 8 or 9 or 10 high fives. A lot of people waved, or simply smiled. Smiles produce more smiles, you know? Those who can't smile are the ones who need it the most. So I stand there, smiling, holding my free hugs sign, trying to give people what they need. 

And my heart is filled with compassion. What everyone needs is more love, yet we are told that it is not what we need. We're told we need thicker skin and smarter brains; we are told that we need not feel and that emotions make us weak. So we try to be strong, but we cannot do life alone. We need companionship. We need to know we are loved and can love. 

That is where 1 John 4:7-21 comes in. 

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

What the world needs is more love. What the world needs is more God. Think on this yall and give someone a free hug today. Love, Rachel