We sometimes take our sense of touch for granted, but for Helen Keller, it was her connection to reality. Since she was both blind and deaf the only way Annie Sullivan, her teacher, could connect with her was by spelling out words on her hands. From ‘water’ the first word she learned she progressed to be able to speak and advocate for the disadvantaged.
You might describe the sense of touch as “the best of times….the worst of times”, to quote Dickens. Pain and pleasure are both parts of our sense of touch. We would rather have more of the latter, but pain serves us well as a warning of danger, a sign that something is wrong Without pain our body could be ailing, damaged, dying, and we wouldn’t know it.
Do you remember when you were little what you were always doing? Touching things. You were exploring your world getting acquainted with everything. No matter how old you get you can still learn using your sense of touch. Have you ever walked barefoot, in the grass, on the pavement, on the beach. Each time you do you get more connected, more grounded in reality. It’s like your other senses. We tend to shield ourselves from primitively letting our body experience the world.
And don’t forget that touching also means keeping in touch, communicating with others. Physical touch that can’t be replicated by email or text or zoom. Forget pictures, a hug can speak volumes to someone in need. Don’t be afraid to let yourself be touched by the world and to touch it in return.