There were no red flags about Amanda that morning.
She walked into Rebecca’s office with her clothes crisp, her smile bright, and her head high.
But when the door clicked shut, the crumble began.
She leaned against the corner of the wall as sobs poured out of her.
The dam was broken and her sorrow was spilling out.
Rebecca and I were paralyzed for a second, completely blindsided by the display.
But then natural instinct took over.
I wrapped my arms around Amanda, leaned my head against hers, and held her. Each cry made her shiver and I felt my arms tremble along with her body.
I don’t know how long we stayed there in that position. But it was long enough to make her crying die down.
The following day, Amanda admitted,
“That was the first time somebody’s hugged me in a long time.”
Growing up, I had no need to worry about where my next hug was coming from. My parents gave hugs to my sister and I daily. Every time a relative would come by, it was a given that they would bring a good squeeze with them. My baby cousins always showed their love by trying to wrap their chubby arms around my legs.
But now as a single adult who lives alone, I definitely see how rare they are.
Maybe it’s due to vulnerability.
As we get older, we develop some cynicism.
Everyone isn’t to be trusted.
Personal space is craved and expected.
Lines are drawn.
Inner circles bubble up.
Brick by brick, walls are constructed to keep out undesirables.
But when something or someone destroys those barriers, leaving us exposed and open, that’s when we find ourselves wanting, having, and needing hugs the most.
The number of hugs I got at 7 is definitely higher than the number I get at 27.
But that doesn’t mean I need them any less.
A hug is such a easy but potent way to show love and ease pain.
It’s simple power that everyone has.
I’m going to use mine more often.