On my wall is a small decorative plaque that says ‘A hug is a great gift- one size fits all!’ That’s a good thought, but not completely true as I’ve discovered from greeting people as they come into the church on a Sunday morning. Not everyone wants to be hugged- a smile is all they need- and elderly or wobbly folk can be unbalanced by a strong unexpected embrace.
Then there is the problem of hugging a tall person when you are short, or a small person when you are large. A fair bit of sensitivity is required in the act of greeting.
It’s been a week of hugs for me, both experienced and witnessed. Ive been hugged by cousins at a family funeral, and hugged by friends, the vicar, and a bishop at my belated confirmation last Tuesday.
At our Prayer Meeting on Friday tow ‘retired’ clergy greeted each other with an ambrace, and later that dayI witnessed hugs all round when an elderly lady was rescued after she drove her car into the wall of Axe Farm; three knights in armour appeared from the farm to help her into the lay-by, and when the Auto Services repair man arrived there were hugs in abundance.
Hugs are lovely- comforting, welcoming, and appreciative. I propose we have a National Hugging Day, or Embrace Your Neighbour Week.
Of course you can embrace new ideas as well as people. And after our Village Meeting on Wednesday we were faced with having to accept that our plans for stopping the heavy traffic passing through Axmouth Village were not succeeding; and this means taking a different tack. We can do small things now, like counting cars and lorries and building a case for the future; we can also join forces with our neighbours in Colyford and other surrounding villages and work with them on a bigger scheme to fight for the interest of our smaller communities.
So co-operation and community- let’s embrace those ideas, and meanwhile give the next person you see a really big hug (as long as you think they can take it!)