A Week Of Gratitude – Touch

by Paul on February 3, 2010

HandsSight and sound were pretty easy to deal with.  I had more difficulty thinking of 5 extraordinary things I’ve touched:

  1. My mother’s fur coat.  As a little boy, I was so fond of it that I decided to heat it up for her one night before she went out by placing it in front of the fire in the living room and nearly burnt the house down.  The replacement fur felt good, but not as great as the original.  Boo hoo.
  2. A friend lent me his Porsche. [I told you I was a gear-head.]  The feel of the perfectly weighted steering wheel as I slalomed around the hills of around Southern California was unspeakably great.
  3. The first time I held my nieces, nephews and — more recently — my gorgeous goddaughter in my arms.  The unalloyed delight.
  4. As a kid, I’d sit on my father’s shoulders as we’d walk back from the beach during our summer vacation.  I felt like the king of the world up there.
  5. Giving the Eucharist to people at Mass or on sick visits is such an honor that I am always moved by it.  Being able to hand God over to someone…

Any tactile memories for you?

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Marg February 3, 2010 at 8:39 am

French-braiding my daughter’s hair when she was small. Slippery, fine, silky little kid hair.

The yarn as I knit, soft or coarse, as it turns into something else.

My Mom’s fur stole. (What was that, anyway?) My sister and I would pet the weird little feet and heads that dangled from it, usually during Mass, until we got “the look” from Dad.

Leaning on my husband. Putting my head on his shoulder when I have just had it with the world.

Rolling pie or cookie dough with my grandma. I had my own little pie pans and felt very important just being in the kitchen with her.



Meredith Gould February 3, 2010 at 9:46 am

Ah, you triggered (in a good way) memories of my mother’s beautiful black Borgana coat. Borgana was a luxury faux fur during the ’50s and ’60s that felt like sheared beaver. My mother’s coat was lined with satin and she would open her arms and let me step inside all that soft, plush lushness. Meanwhile, extraordinary things I’ve touched:
1. Yeah, you said it first, but I swear (is that allowed?) I would’ve put Eucharist anyway.
2. The soft fur where cat ears meet cat head.
3. Rose petals.
4. A dying friend’s feet for some gentle massage and polarity.
5. Moments of transcendence.


Philomena ewing February 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm

The feel of lying on hot sand or fresh grass is lovely -they count as one !!
Stroking a cat or a dog is wonderful relaxation
The feel of fresh bed linen is good
Holding my partner’s hand is a gift and something I never take for granted.
A massage of the feet is wonderful whether received or given !!


Maura February 3, 2010 at 12:31 pm

my husband’s caress

holding my son’s hand… I wonder how much longer he will let me do that when we cross the street or are in a crowd?

the feel of the warming earth as I do spring planting (that probably will show up under smells too:)

the wind in my face… some times scarey, sometimes peaceful, always invigorating

warmth of a camp fire… perhaps some of that is an emotional feeling of being relaxed with loved ones


Eric February 3, 2010 at 12:51 pm

1. Wrapping my arms around my beloved Ruth.
2. A hot shower.
3. Being put into bed and covered with a comforter.
4. Walking into an air conditioned building when it is blazing hot outside.
5. Massages (now a past memory due to my muscle weakness).
And I promise there will be no sixth this time.


Denise February 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Yes, Eric, air conditioning is a wonderful thing on a hot day! I also like:
- the warmth of hot chocolate during winter’s especially cold days.
- the feel of being hugged by a loved one.
- the feel of a soft, cozy robe worn while lounging on a morning when it’s ok to sleep in.
- the softness of baby’s skin.


Paul February 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm


I’m not going to comment on each one but, in toto, I simply said, “Awww.” Perfect and lovely. Thank you.



Paul February 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm


I didn’t realize fur was so evocative for others besides myself.

Rose petals. Of course. Sublime.

At first glance, your dying friend’s feet seemed an eccentric choice but a moment’s reflection allowed me to see the appropriateness of the choice.

I don’t quite know how you experience “moments of transcendence” through touch, but I’m more than willing to learn.



Paul February 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm


Hot sand and fresh grass. Yes. How great.

Pets – hadn’t thought about stroking pets, but you’re right on the money.

Fresh linens! My mother had a bit of a thing about this and my sheets were linen. Getting between fresh cold linen sheets, even in winter, was bliss.

Hands and feet – really tactile, aren’t they?



Paul February 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm


How lovely to learn that your gratitude for touch is rooted in your husband and in your son.

I think I’m so “de-racinated” that I wouldn’t know the feel of warming earth if I had a bucket full of it dumped on my head. Shame on me.

The wind. Why didn’t I think of it. After all, I live in the Windy City…

Campfires. Obvious. Again, I should have thought of them.



Paul February 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm


Thank God for Ruth and for lovely comforters. The one (of your strict five) that most caught my eye was your description of walking from the heat into an air-conditioned building. Yes. Yes. Yes. One of the best tactile experiences ever.



SUE August 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

I remember when we did not have A.C.and I become very thankful!!!


Pat February 3, 2010 at 8:42 pm

1. I work in a church. So many people come from the streets asking for help of all sorts, I ask them in to my office, talk and listen with them at length, give them assistance as needed and as I can, and then, we shake hands (sometimes rough hands) or they sometimes ask for a hug. This is so wonderful because it is truly touching the body of Christ.
2. Touching my mom, who has Alzheimer’s, caring for her in her need, has made my relationship with her so different than it was ever before.
3. My husband touches my neck when we shop at Hobby Lobby in the yarn section; he is so patient, and his touch on my neck that way is why I shop at H.L.
4. As I walk over my small farm in Northeast Tennessee, I touch the cedar trees and other trees and remember what a perfect earth God made just for us to live out our lives.
5. I also love the feel of yarn, yarn, yarn, yarn.


Cathy February 3, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I can particularly relate to the air-conditioning one: where I live (in South Australia) we’re in the middle of summer, and we’ve had some extremely hot days over the last month or two! What I was planning to put on my list, though, was the feel of a cool breeze on your face when you finally get a cool change at the end of a heat wave. Here’s the rest of my list:

-My husband’s healing hands as he massages my neck (I have arthritis in my neck and shoulder)
-Our little dog’s tongue (he loves to lick us!)
-A baby or young child sitting on your lap
- I hadn’t thought of it before I read the posts here, but the feel of the Eucharistic host being put into my hands. So simple and physical yet so sublime and deeply spiritual! Hope they don’t change back to Communion on the tongue only!

By the way, Paul, when your mother discovered you’d tried to “warm” her fur coat for her, I hope she appreciated your good intentions and wasn’t just angry with you!


Paul February 3, 2010 at 11:45 pm


What a lovely list of things you touch and are touched by. I can’t say that I’ve ever paid attention to yarn, but that might have to change!



Paul February 3, 2010 at 11:48 pm


Thank you for revealing your geographic position. Now, if I ever get the chance to visit Australia, I will have a non-Jesuit contact there!

As you can probably guess, my parents were extremely understanding about the fur coat. It was always my experience, and perhaps yours, that I only really got into trouble for the small stuff. Whenever it was anything “serious,” my parents seemed to will themselves into being calm and measured.



Meredith Gould February 4, 2010 at 9:18 am

How could I have forgotten:
1) fresh clean sheets
2) freah clean socks!!


ron crawford February 6, 2010 at 1:25 am

The touch of the technition as she moves you into position for Radiation treatment.
The touch of the needle entering your port to have your chemo treatment to hopefully cure your cancer.
The touch of hands from the other cancer patients as they say good=bye.
The touch of the Priest as you receive the Sacrement of the annointing,knowing that God is always with you and how blessed I am to share in his suffering and offering it up for those that I love Religious and lay.
The feel of the touch of the Cross as I pray my suffering eliminates some of Jesus Christ who suffered for me.
The feel of my two small Grandchildrenm18 months and 3 yrs old that my wife and I are raising,crawling up on my lap and loving me not knowing I am ill and the joy that God has given me because he gave me them.
The warm hug and kiss and snuggle with my wife as we go to sleep,knowing how hard it is for her,and feeling Gods presence as he gives her strength to endure,
The feeling of joy I have everyday knowing that God loves me and how I love him and how that matters and he is feeling mine and all those that pray for me.


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