This past weekend, I witnessed something amazing. A friend of mine gave birth to her first child, and due to a few complications, the baby was immediately admitted to NICU. As a result of the child’s illness, the baby required minimal stimulation, so the body could focus on healing itself and essential growth.
I stood beside her, gazing down through the plastic barriers, tubes, monitors, and sensors at her gorgeous infant; I could almost feel the mother’s heart aching to clutch her newborn in her arms. The little chest was rising and falling, brilliant blue veins like lightning across her belly. Tiny tubes were taped to her tiny nose. And her feeble heart raced. 140 bpm. 163 bpm. 170 bpm.
Unable to resist any longer, the momma slowly slid her hand through the barrier and gently caressed the baby’s elbow. Quietly, she began to hum and her voice cracked slightly as she sang, “Amazing grace…”
153 bpm. 142 bpm. 129 bpm. 97 bpm. 84 bpm. 68 bpm.
Soon, alarms were going off and nurses were surrounding us. The heart rate was plummeting to what most would call normal levels. However, for a tiny infant struggling to survive, the racing heart was essential.
The simple touch from the mother was instantly peaceful; enough that the body’s immediate reaction was one of calmness, slowed heart rate, and relaxed breathing.
It reminded me of other touches in our lives. In the craziest times, a gentle whisper, a light touch on an elbow, can cause anxiety to dissipate and peace to return to a heart. Unlike a newborn struggling to thrive, we crave the calm. Our soul yearns for the sense of comfort.
Much that we long for, that we need to thrive, that our soul craves is found in the simplest, gentlest forms of touch.