During this Thanksgiving season, I am grateful for sensory perceptions.
Writers are encouraged to include the five senses in our manuscripts, and most of us do a good job with sight and hearing.
But it’s a little harder to add touch, taste and smell without sounding contrived. Even so, this year I am most grateful for the sense of touch.
We can think on a meditative level about how we are touched by the presence of a close friend, a poignant story we read or a movie we watch.
But the sense of touch I want to focus on is the actual practice of feeling the world around me.
Several years ago, I struggled through a clinical depression. Every day felt gray with absolutely no feelings. I was completely numb, walking through life like an emotional zombie.
Nothing. Even pain would have been more welcome than the drab nothingness of living without any shred of hope.
During that time, I completely lost the sense of touch.
Months later, after an amazing moment of healing deliverance, I began to feel again. I drove to Hancock’s Fabric Store. For hours I strolled through the store, stroking the nubby rows of corduroy, the shiny ribbons of satin, the rich texture of tapestries.
I bought nothing but left the store richer and more content. And I still love to feel my way through fabric stores.
Even now, I relish the sense of touch. As I walk outside, I will often pick up a stick and rub my fingers over the fractured wood. Or I’ll grab some leaves and count the distended veins with my fingers.
My jewelry is chosen for its color but also for its feel. Next to my skin, I fine joy in the spherical turn of beads, the chunkiness of stones and the svelte whisper of pearls. I often play with my earrings because the feel of them reminds me of being alive.
When I hug my son, I stroke his stubbly beard. As I pet the cat, I play with her fluffy tail and sing with the vibrations of her purr. The blanket on my bed is velvety soft. As I arrange the covers, I smile and pat the blanket in place.
Even the pens I write with must have a rubber grip, a smooth cartridge and a careful mark on the page.
The joy of touch is a blessing we can easily take for granted. This Thanksgiving season, let’s be even more aware of how objects, clothing, dishes, furniture and life itself feels.
Even as we touch our way through each day, let’s be more cognizant of new textures not previously experienced. Then let hope expand in the treasure of all the senses God has given.
What about you? Which sense are you most grateful for?
©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Depression and its loss of touch can affect the lives of caregivers. Check out Sometimes They Forget for essays from the viewpoint of a family dealing with Alzheimers.