We celebrated our wedding anniversary by going to watch the film Hope springs … It is a touching story about a couple who have been married nearly as long as we have. Their relationship has become stale. The couple have lost touch with each other. There is no contact apart from the mindless peck on the cheek. They sleep in separate rooms. The film follows Kay’s (played by Meryl Streep) attempt to reconnect with her husband (played by Tommy Lee Jones).
It’s not a great film by any stretch of the imagination – (74% on the tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes) but this (non) touching story reminds me that there needs to be routines and structures for us to keep in touch with each other. This is true of marriage and any community. There comes a time when we can no longer say that we are in touch if our relationships are starved of physical expression.
I love The Touching Place by John Bell and Graham Maule. It is a beautiful song set to the tune Dream Angus.
Christ’s is the world in which we move.
Christ’s are the folk we’re summoned to love,
Christ’s is the voice which calls us to care,
and Christ is the One who meets us here.
To the lost Christ shows his face;
to the unloved He gives His embrace;
to those who cry in pain or disgrace,
Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.
Feel for the people we most avoid.
Strange or bereaved or never employed;
Feel for the women, and feel for the men
who hear that their living is all in vain.
Feel for the parents who lost their child,
feel for the woman whom men have defiled.
Feel for the baby for whom there’s no breast,
and feel for the weary who find no rest.
Feel for the lives by life confused.
Riddled with doubt, in loving abused;
Feel for the lonely heart, conscious of sin,
which longs to be pure but fears to begin.
Without physical expression feelings become empty. Our feelings get blown away with the wind without physical routines and structures. Community is made of touching places.
I have posted a reflection on the importance of touch by John Hull from his account of the onset of his blindness.