"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Healing Touch

One of the saddest jobs I had in my life was working in a pastoral care department of a large nursing home in Ottawa in the 1990s. The people were so desperately lonely that I often had to do nothing but sit and listen to them, sometimes holding their hand. There was one woman I was especially close to, who reminded me of my maternal grandmother, for both of them had lived through the Blitz and the Battle of Britain, and then emigrated to Canada after the war. She was rather cantankerous and many other people kept clear of her, making clear their dislike of her (which was often mutual), but I somehow really came to like her, and she me. On the afternoon when she lay dying and was no longer really conscious, I sat and held her hand for quite some time, which seemed to calm her and keep her from being agitated. Her family, who seldom if ever bestirred themselves to come visit, afterwards wrote me a note thanking me for being there, having apparently been told of my presence by one of the nurses to assuage the guilt of their absence.

Both then and since I have had occasion to reflect on the simple yet profoundly powerful role of human touch. Certainly the psychological literature is full of studies indicating how vital touch is for human flourishing.

Along comes a new book, from the leading Orthodox publisher in the anglophone world, treating this topic: Touch and the Healing of the World by Daniel Hinshaw (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2017), 144pp. I noted an earlier book by Hinshaw here.

About this book the publisher tells us:

Touch and the Healing of the World explores one of the most familiar yet profound of human experiences—touch. In a series of reflections that focus upon events in the life of Christ (beautifully portrayed in contemporary icons, in full color plates), Dr Daniel Hinshaw contemplates the mystery of the incarnation, focusing on the meaning and importance of touch.
Drawing on a wide range of sources, from icons, hymns, and the writings of the Fathers of the Church to the most recent findings of modern medicine, Dr Hinshaw invites readers to understand the fuller implications of the saving work of Christ. The Lord entered into every aspect of our life—the tender embrace of mother and child, the humility of a servant as he washed his disciples’ feet, and the horror of torture as he was scourged, beaten, and crucified—so that we might enter into his life—his transfiguration, his resurrection, and the never-ending joy of his kingdom.
Daniel Hinshaw is an Orthodox Christian layman and practicing physician. He teaches Palliative Care as a Professor Emeritus of Surgery and Consultant in Palliative Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, at Transilvania University in Brasov, Romania, Balamand University in Lebanon, and as Sessional Professor of Palliative Care at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, New York.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...