Physical touch implies presence, then closeness and then tangibility. By touch, we establish a strong relationship, which is further reflected in our sensory system. It (the sensory system) is associated with emotions, which, with the help of feelings, bring us deeper into the experience of the tangible. This way we can feel the temperature, the pain, the pressure, the smoothness, the roughness, the softness…and more. The truth is that we love to touch: other people, animals, plants, things… When a husband loves his wife – he wants to kiss her; the mother wants to hug her baby; and people want to shake hands because that is how they establish some form of a relationship. When we are physically distant, we lose the aforementioned relationship. Then a sense of loneliness, sadness, worry, insecurity can emerge…depending on how strong our relationship is. Although today it may seem to us that we are all interconnected via the Internet or mobile phones, when we scratch a little deeper below the surface, we see all the flaws of a virtual “relationship” and “connectivity”. In fact, it is an illusion. No matter how many times a day you hear from a friend who is far away from us, or how often you talk to your mother via webcam, it’s not the same, is it? We need the physical touch and the actual presence of a loved one.
Perhaps the problem is that today we are oriented exclusively on the physical? We focus too much on the visible and the tangible, and neglect the invisible reality – the spiritual dimension. There is also a spiritual touch, which can be much more powerful and real than physical touch. In this specific time, we are forced to live with, almost exclusively, spiritual touch. An unknown virus forced us to do so. Not only is the physical touch “missing”, but we are even limited by a restriction of closeness. As things stand, we live only the first component, which precedes physical touch, and it is – a presence. At this time, we cannot be quite sure how we will continue to be able to live in presence and live a presence, as it is risky to approach another and we can inadvertently easily transmit the infection. In this time, the embrace becomes the weapon of death, what a paradox.
And what’s left of us? We can despair, fall into depression, weep over the “evil destiny”, or we can turn to the inward man and awaken the spiritual reality in us. Fortunately, we find ourselves in Lent, which is exactly a guidance to asceticism and (re)establishment of spiritual touch. So let’s be brave and take that great step of faith and try to look at the present situation with all the problems through the prism of the resurrection of Christ. In the end, though, it is light, not darkness.