A Humble Hug

A Humble Hug

By Krystal Dunlap

                        Years ago, I had the privilege of working in a kindergarten life skills classroom. For those of you unfamiliar with such, our students had many struggles, one being communication. A boy in particular was labeled as “nonverbal” because he had a very limited vocabulary and did not use more than two or three words at a time.

                        That young man taught me a profound lesson. A woman who worked in our room suffered a deep loss. The death of this individual seemed to truly overwhelm her, leaving her quiet and withdrawn upon her return to work. I and the other adults in the class really felt at a loss as to what to say to her. Fear of causing additional pain made us quiet. Insecurity at not knowing just the right words to say left us silent. Self-consciousness that we could not fully relate to her struggle kept us at a distance.

                        During play time, she sat in a small chair at the end of the room. The young boy quietly walked over to her. Without warning, he climbed into her lap, reached up, and wrapped his arms around her. This suffering woman broke down crying and held him close. After a time, she calmed down and smiled at him. He silently got down and joined his peers in play.

                        In that moment, I felt both thankfulness and humiliation. He had managed to do what the rest of us could not, namely provide comfort. I imagine that it did not occur to him that she might cry if he hugged her. With his difficulties, there is no way he could have spoken the ‘right’ words. Relating to how she felt would have been such a challenge for a young mind. Yet, none of this stopped him from following through on what he could do. And it was enough.

                        His actions humbled me greatly. I, an intelligent, mature adult had done nothing. Using excuses that truly should be ignored, I had allowed myself to avoid the awkward and painful action of reaching out. Rather than putting aside my embarrassment at not knowing how to act perfectly and then doing what I could, I held back and left my friend in pain.

                        Since that time, I remind myself frequently of this scene. As with that woman, there are people around me that are in sorrow. This world brings physical suffering, emotional pain, and the guilt of sin to many. All of them require love from others. As a Christian, it is my duty to show them attention and care. Jesus set an example of such, emphasizing that He came to this world for those who are broken (Mark 2:15-17). Following in His footsteps, I should make the ones around me who are struggling a priority. I must spread the love that the Lord feels for me to all through my words and actions (1 John 4:7-12).

                        When we find fear, insecurity, and self-consciousness holding us back from reaching out, let us be reminded of the boy’s silent act of care. He did not need wisdom to help her, and shame did not inhibit him. Ultimately, we are no different. We do not need the right words, the perfect approach, or the exact empathy. All one simply needs is the courage to approach others in pain with genuine love. If we do so, our actions, whatever they may be, will provide comfort as did his simple hug.


A Moment’s Wisdom

—Blessed is the man who, having nothing important to say, refrains from giving wordy evidence of that fact.

—When your love of authority exceeds your sense of responsibility, your leadership is in jeopardy, and so is your organization.

—There is nothing wrong with having nothing to say, unless you say it.

—It is easier to point a finger than to hold out a helping hand.

—The best things about life under the sun are nearest to us: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, and the path of right just before you.

—When asked to plant the seed of the word of God, the first thing most people dig up is an excuse.

—The less we understand what we are talking about, the more confidently and unhesitatingly we pass judgment on it.

—If you cannot see the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it to others.

Live your life so that if someone says to you, “Just be yourself,” it is good advice.

—The foolishness of some folks is that they say they will do anything in this world to feel better, except give up what is hurting them.

—True charity is helping those you have every reason to believe cannot help you in return.

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