Have you ever heard a statistic that just seemed to leave an imprint on your heart?
Recently, I heard someone say that 80% of babies in orphanages die because of a lack of compassionate, physical touch. Being a mom of two little ones, this statement obviously hurts my tender momma heart.
It does not take very long to see our children’s independence start to blossom. Understanding that my little ones won’t always be this small, I try to take advantage of all the cuddles and snuggles that I can get. I know that this has only strengthened my bond with both of my boys. Even medical professionals urge moms of newborns to enjoy times of “skin to skin,” which also aids in mother/baby bonding. Science has proven the release of Oxytocin, the “love drug,” occurs with physical touch and creates a lasting bond between humans.
As I let images of lonely, unloved little ones in those orphanages run through my being, I begin to wonder:
Do we ever outgrow the need for physical connection and affection?
In the age of hyper-technology and social media, we can communicate with anyone and everyone from around the globe, around the clock. It’s obvious that people still enjoy connecting with one another, not just as networking partners, but as friends. Right, Facebook?
But are we truly connected?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV) tells us the value of a friend:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Over the years, I have to admit that I’ve allowed myself to rely on social media and texting to keep my friendships going. Although convenient, I have wondered why I’ve always felt short-changed. The reason is because my friendships on social media — merely texting my friends — will never allow them to pick me up when I fall or hold me when I’m “cold.”
The warmth of a hug or a shoulder to cry on or hands to hold when fervently praying for one another simply cannot be found online. No, we can only find that kind of affection face-to-face, enjoying the physical presence of a beloved friend.
I challenge you to join me in being intentional with physically spending time with our friends.
Keep that coffee date on your calendar (don’t cancel it again!), go on a shopping trip with your girlfriends (even if it’s just window shopping), or cook dinner with your married friends (and put your phones away and enjoy the conversation during your meal together!).
It’s easy to say we “don’t have the time.” Well, it’s time to invest in our friendships and see them flourish into a lasting bond that could last a lifetime.
And that reminds me of another statistic I heard, one worth striving for: If a friendship lasts longer than seven years, psychologists say it will last a lifetime.
Let’s make it a priority to cultivate those types of long-lasting friendships; not just those we connect with on social media, but those who we can physically connect with on our journey as we grow older alongside one another, walking hand in hand, and holding each other up when we are weak. Let’s be those kinds of friends.
The Warmth of a Friend was first featured on incourage.me.