By Beth Demme
There’s something you should know about me. I’m a hugger.
I love to hug my children and my husband, but my hugging doesn’t stop there. If we’re friends and I see you at my child’s school, on the soccer fields, or in the grocery store, I’m likely to hug you. On Sunday morning, I go from one friend to another, hugging my way through the congregation.
Do you know what you have to do in order to share a hug? You have to choose to be idle for a moment.
A hug won’t work if either party is in motion.
If I can get the person I’m hugging to stay still, to hold the hug, for more than a nanosecond, I silently say a quick prayer. Although it’s brief, it’s usually a very deep and profound prayer, something theologically rich like, “thank you God for this friend.”
Obviously, I’m being sarcastic. My prayer may not be deep or profound, but it is heartfelt. I hope my hug and my prayer communicate my sincere appreciation for the other person.
Sometimes the most important moment of the day doesn’t have anything to do with accomplishing a to-do list task. Sometimes a moment of stillness brings the most joy and fulfillment to my soul.
Sadly, this is a truth I tend to forget.
I love having a good to-do list. There are days I create a list at the end of the day just to remind myself of everything I accomplished!
I tend to measure myself based on how productive I’ve been. I’m a classic Martha.
You know the story, right? Jesus went to “a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks.” (Luke 10:38-40)
Eventually, Martha got fed up that she was the only one getting anything done. She turned to Jesus and said (more or less), “hey Jesus, would you tell my lazy, unproductive, do-nothing sister to get up off her rumpus and help me out!”
I picture Jesus smiling kindly and looking directly into Martha’s eyes as he answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41‑42)
I can feel Jesus saying that to me. Can you?
I imagine Jesus looking directly into my eyes and saying, “Beth, Beth, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.” He then extends his arms and invites me into the.best.hug.ever.
In that moment of stillness, I’m able to let go of every task and focus on the most important truth: I am loved.
And so are you.
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Original version published October 5, 2016