Hugs are a miracle cure, and I witnessed one of these restorative embraces last weekend. Outside a Denver sports center, a young teen gymnast darted into the parking lot as several of us were waiting for the next competition to start. The girl didn’t look happy. She moved quickly as tears started gushing down her cheeks.
She ran straight toward her father, who was bolting just as quickly toward her. When they reached each other, the daughter unloaded her disappointment over her performance and everything else that just made the morning tough. I love what happened next.
The dad kindly let his girl sob and get out her distress. But then this towering, bearded father embraced his daughter in his burly arms and literally lifted her off the ground in a gigantic papa bear hug. He held his hurting daughter like this until the she relaxed and let her tears fade. Hugs are a miracle cure.
I’m a bit teary just recounting this endearing moment between a young teen and her daddy. When I was a young girl, I used to wait for my dad to come home from work. When I heard him drive up, I would go running to meet him just inside the kitchen door and he’d lift me above the freezer and almost to the ceiling. Wheeeee! Dad chuckled as he spun me around and gently lowered me to my feet. Rembrandt depicted another memorable embrace of a father and child in his famous “Return of the Prodigal Son.” Among the Dutch Master’s final works, this magnificent painting based on the Bible’s Luke 15:11-32 is considered one of the most celebrated works of art from the seventeenth century.
Don’t we all need moments like this? Times when we just need to know that someone we trust is always on our side. When someone is always ready to listen to our babbling outbursts and let our tears mess up their shirt (or robes).
I wrote last week about how much of the anger and violence in our world spills over from people not working through their rejection, hurt, and disappointment. I think the way the father helped his gymnast daughter face her letdown fits right along with the suggestions I made.
- You can’t always have your own way.
- It really is okay to fail at something.
- Not doing your best, leaves room for improvement next time.
- Talk out the sadness . . . .
And I would like to add: Hugs are a miracle cure.