Today is the day I introduce controversy to my blog. Consider yourself warned.
These past few months, I’ve tried really hard not to offend anyone.
After all, we have to deal with enough conflict in our lives as it is, don’t we?
- Regular soda vs. diet soda.
- Sweet snacks vs. salty snacks.
- Milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate.
- Thick crust or thin crust.
- The Voice or American Idol.
Honestly, the stress and issues we have to deal with on a daily basis boggle the mind.
I just wanted this to be a safe place. But no more.
I have a confession to make to those of you who don’t know me.
So. There you go.
I don’t really have a reason why I don’t care to hug. It makes me uncomfortable. The notion of getting justthisclose to someone, particularly as a way of greeting, just seems odd to me.
I’d much rather give you a fist bump if at all possible. A high five. Shake your hand. A hearty wave. Truly, I’m wide open to all manner of introduction……other than a hug.
In the interest of full disclosure, I do hug on occasion.
I hug my husband and son. I hug my mom and dad. My brother and I occasionally hug. (But only because our mom makes us.)
I hug friends who are in a particularly pitiful state. (I’m a giver that way.)
I hug the Senior Associate Pastor at our church because he hugs everyone. I’ve yet to find a means of escape.
You may be asking why I bring this up now.
It’s time you knew.
Because apparently, not being a hugger is a big deal…..to huggers.
I have many friends who just don’t get it. They hug. A lot.
And I love that about them. I love the true joy they have when they are going in
for the kill for their friendly hug!
I love their total lack of awkwardness during the hug.
I mean, they embrace it. (Pun intended. I’m a writer, ya’ll.)
I’m different though. For me, a hug has all the awkwardness of a gym full of square dancing middle schoolers.
Today, I made a non-hugging post on Facebook and I received a comment from a friend.
(I asked her if I could share it here….and she’s sweet enough to say yes!)
Here’s what she writes:
“May I ask you a question Julie? I totally respect that you don’t really enjoy hugging people outside of your family, but I don’t quite understand it because I am very hug-oriented (if that could even be a word???) Ha! So my question is why do you not like hugging? Not that you owe me any explanation or anything at all. I am just trying to understand your perspective better.”
I’ll be honest. I didn’t want to answer at first. It’s not a big deal or anything; I guess I felt like Popeye….”I yam what I yam”.
After a minute though, I realized what an awesome thing she did.
She recognized we were different.
She didn’t judge me, she didn’t ridicule me, she didn’t try to convince me her viewpoint was better……she simply asked a question.
What if we all did that?
Friends, we deal with conflicts in this life much more serious than hugging.
We have family and friends that we are in direct conflict with….in fact, we may not even be speaking.
We have cultural differences that are daily digging chasms so deep we may never be able to cross them.
We have disputes in our churches that not only divide us as believers, they also are destroying any credibility we may have with those who need to know Jesus.
Can we just stop and take a breath for a minute?
What if we just asked a question like my friend?
“I’m just trying to understand your perspective better”.
What if then…..we sat back and we listened?
Hear me on this. I know questions and conversations aren’t going to solve all of the issues we face.
However, I also know they will never be solved if we don’t at least try.
We won’t always agree. Nor should we. There are situations where personal and deep convictions will not allow us to agree.
But we can always talk.
We can always ask.
And we can always listen.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to practice my side-hug. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.