The Orphan Sense in Our World

David - San Francisco, California
Entered on November 28, 2005
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the power of touch.

I have experienced the power of touch to calm an infant, to comfort the dying, and to mend a relationship. I believe in offering a hand or a hug to say hello or goodbye. I believe in putting my arm around a good friend while we sit and talk on the sofa. I believe in saying “Thank you,” when someone accidentally bumps up against me on a crowded sidewalk.

I believe that touch makes me whole.

I believe that the touch of another person connects me to my personal history, to their personal history, and to the history of all humanity. I have seen touch in times of crisis bring relief to emergency workers, firefighters and police after a natural disaster and heal soldiers and civilians in time of war. I have seen that a simple handshake between political opponents can spark years of hope between warring peoples and sometimes actually signal the end of years of conflict.

I believe that touch can reconnect the innate wisdom of my body to the rational calculations of my brain. I have watched touch reawaken sensations in me that I thought were gone forever.

I am aware that as touch heals me, it also heals my relationships, heals the institutions of work, religion and politics that I participate in, and I believe that ultimately it helps to heal the world.

I believe that, if everyone got as much positive touch as they wanted for free, the need for wars, racism, drug abuse, child abuse, spousal abuse, anti-depressants and the need to blame others for the conditions of our lives would mostly disappear.

I believe that touch reminds me that human beings are supposed to feel good, not bad. I believe that touch is the orphan sense in our world because of our fear of intimacy. I believe that touch has the power to turn “you” and “me” into “us.”

I believe that unless we learn how to touch and be touched, we will never learn to how to love ourselves and each other.

I believe in touch.