Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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How Can Hugging Someone I Love Make Me Cry?
For the first time in fifteen months, I feel free to hug my three adult children, six grandchildren, and many of my good friends.
I have been hugging-deprived (except for my wife) because I wanted to stay safe during this COVID experience. Staying Alive" has been more than a John Travolta disco song for me. It has been my main job and focus since March, 2020.
I have tried to do all the right things. I realized that where I went, and how I behaved was up to me.
I wore a mask everywhere, wore plastic gloves, washed my hands fifty times a day. I avoided planes, trains, and automobiles, except our family cars. No ubers for me. Plexiglas shields were not enough protection.
Recently, I went to a gathering and hugged a few people. It was a surreal experience to hug and be hugged. It felt amazing and scary at the same time. It is also felt wonderful.
When I first hugged my son and grandson a few weeks ago, I cried. Even though I have been vaccinated since February, I knew many others were not. Now, my adult children are vaccinated, and my most of my friends are as well.
Businesses and spiritual centers are opening up.
There seems to be the belief that it is now safer to touch another person, give or receive a hug or handshake. A sigh of relief. Maybe we finally made it through this. Maybe I can feel safe again in the grocery store.
Crying can be a sign of sadness, but also it may be a sign of relief. Finally, we are free to live our lives. But for me, I think I am crying because I was unable to cry during the last fifteen months. It was too much to feel all the sadness and loss while being so strong. It was too much to let in and let out the feelings of grief. So, maybe I can grieve now as I begin to feel more connected again. Hugging in person is different than a face-time phone call.
I feel sadness because of the 600,000 people in the United States who died. I am sad that this pandemic was not taken seriously by some people. I feel sadness for all those who became ill and recovered. I am also grateful to every caregiver who kept people alive, and took care of our basic needs -- food, medical care, mail delivery, spiritual support, etc.
I am most grateful for the scientists who created the vaccines, and those who delivered the vaccinations. I believe that I can cry for joy about that.
Regarding Unity Minneapolis, I am super grateful for the ministers (Rev. Pat, and Rev Toni), staff, board, volunteers, and congregation for keeping the high watch, making our lives better, more connected, and love-focused during the last fifteen months. Where would I be without "Connecting with Reverend Pat," my prayer chaplains, my Unity men's group, and live-streaming the Unity Sunday services?
I am still going slow with re-entering the world. How safe is it really? How can I know? In the meantime, I will be hugging those who are vaccinated more freely now. And I will cry out of love, gratitude, sadness, and relief. Thank you, God.