I believe in the power of hugs. As cheesy as it sounds, I really do. Whenever I think about hugs, this particular situation comes to mind. About three weeks ago, my friend Laura took her own life. It was like a slap in the face for me. I didn’t and still don’t understand why it happened. After I found out, all I could do was cry. I was so confused, Laura was an amazing girl. I knew her through church, she was my youth pastor’s niece, and she was on of the strongest believers I knew. The girl was so outgoing and loving; she also had an innumerable amount of friends.
That night, the night Laura passed away, there was a candlelit ceremony on the football field at her high school, in Urbana. A group of youth, including myself, from church drove up there to attend. Not surprising to me at all, there were hundreds of people there, all hurting for the same reason. As we walked onto the field we were handed a candle. The group of us then found a place to stand together in the massive crowd. So many things were going through my mind at that time and I felt pathetic. I felt as if this was somehow my fault, I could have done something, this should not have happened. I was beside myself.
At the time, a guy from my youth group, Joey, who had also been friends with Laura, was standing next to me. I have known Joey almost my whole life and this was the first time I had ever seen him cry. After most of Laura’s family, her principal, and basketball coach had spoken, there was silence. This gave me more time to think and be sad, so I began to cry harder. After a few minutes of my probably obnoxious sobbing, Joey turned to me, surprisingly, and hugged me. This was not just an ordinary hug; this was the most memorable, powerful hug I had ever felt. For what seemed like a while, Joey just held me and it seemed as if the world had stopped for that amount of time.
Joey and I have never and will never have a special relationship; he was just a long time friend from church, but the feeling of his love and care through that hug really felt like the best thing in the world at the time. That hug from Joey was exactly what I needed right then, it was so powerful and calming. For some reason, the comfort of someone’s embrace can truly change you. That is what I believe, and I will never forget that hug.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.