Dr. Dan suggested to us that our deepest hunger, the one that itches underneath all the stuff we try to satisfy ourselves with is intimacy. I think Dr. Dan knows what he's talking about. So the question I'm contemplating tonight is, how do we create a safe community where intimacy can grow, be experienced and be real?
There's a moment in a movie called, "Life As A House" where the main character, in bed and dying from cancer, suddenly reacts to a nurse's touch as she cares for him. He gasps slightly and says, "I have not been touched in years." The nurse is incredulous. "Really?" She asks, "Not a friend or a mother? People have to be touched. Everyone gets touched by somebody they love." His life has become isolated, both his interior and exterior life. He is divorced. Estranged from his only child, his son. His work allows him to isolate and the people who live nearby are happy to leave him alone.
It's a metaphor "rich" film. Not really a great film but it's thoughtful.
The deal is that intimacy looks different to everyone. For some a hug is one step too far. For others hugs are just the beginning. Who listens to you? Who gives you 5 minutes of listening without prepping a rebuttal? Who considers your words, thoughts and feelings and validates them by making room in themselves to receive them, hold them, without trying to fix them? Can I suggest that the "touch" we need isn't always physical, in fact often is not physical?
What says "intimacy" to you?
You can be all alone in a very crowded house. And your head can get pretty crowded when you're all alone. This kind of isolation is deadly, sometimes slow, sometimes fast but always deadly. A good friend of mine died about 7 years ago from starving to death for intimacy and filling the hole with heroin. Again and again. When the emptiness is there we'll toss food at it, TV, sex, alcohol, drugs, religion...but that emptiness stays hungry 'til we meet the lack with the one thing that can satisfy it. Authentic, intimate, unconditional.
"People have to be touched."