What’s In a Hug?

Kristen - Strafford, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

If you do nothing else today, I believe you should hug, and be hugged, by at least one person, because I believe in the power of hugs.

I am amazed that in the simplicity of wrapping your arms around someone, unbelievable depth and feeling can be found. I much prefer the stark honesty of a hug to the unreliable tangle of words and sentences. Words can be wrong and complicated, but a hug is straightforward, easy to give and receive.

My freshman year I was on a mission trip to in small orphanage in Mexico when I first realized the universality of a hug. Seeing as my Spanish speaking abilities included “si” and “gracias,” my biggest fear was whether I would be able to connect with the kids. The second night we were there, I noticed a little girl crying on the outskirts of the rest of her playmates. I had no way of speaking with her, so I did the only thing I knew: I hugged her. She looked up with me with her tearstained face and smiled. Juan Mann, founder of the Free Hug Campaign, said about hugs, “Everyone has problems and for sure mine haven’t compared. But to see someone who was once frowning, smile even for a moment, is worth it every time.”

The sensitivity of human contact has only been increased in our technology driven world. To touch is to be touched, but we tend to loose sight of this amongst the cell phones and the internet. Hugging that girl in Mexico not only made her smile, but I could feel it as well. My Spanish was so poor that couldn’t tell her in words that I loved her, but she knew it anyway, and I felt her love as much as she felt my own.

There will always be bits of us that need healing. The places that words can’t explain and words can’t heal. In these instances where words will fail us, love must take over. But love doesn’t just sit in mid-air, waiting to be used up. It needs to be passed, shown, expressed, from person to person. I believe that hugs have this power. This I believe.