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Lifting Holy Hands

By ByronFish ~

I woke up this morning around 2am with a little bit of indigestion from the pizza we had for dinner last night. As I tossed and turned, I had the usual things running through my mind, like...what I needed to do at work in 5 hours, what bills needed paid before we go for vacation in 2 weeks, etc...and then I started thinking of my middle son who is currently in basic training for the Coast Guard. As I continued to drift in and out of sleep, memories of my son as a child went through my head. I remembered when he was about 10 years old and wrote a heart felt note about missing his grandmothers, grandfather and aunts who had recently passed away. I remembered how he hid that note in his room and how my wife and I cried when we read it after coming across it years later when we moved from that house to our next. I thought about my son's wedding day a few years ago and how tough being married and getting into the military in his mid 20's must be. As I started back to sleep I imagined my son walking toward me, so I reached out to hug him. Suddenly I woke up and realized I had actually stretched my arms out, in my sleep, to hug my son who wasn't really there.


Now I'm up and sitting in the living room, hoping to go back to bed in a few minutes. The whole sensation of imagining my son and reaching out to hug him, reminded me of the days I would stand in church (or at home) and stretch my hands and arms to the sky to embrace a god I wanted to know better. There's a warm sensation I used to get while doing that act of worship and looking back I wonder if that is just a normal feeling we get while imagining or actually performing the act of hugging? Maybe there's a natural reason we feel warm and fuzzy when we hug. If so, it makes sense to me why I used to think I felt God's presence greater during those worship 'services'. Try it, close your eyes and imagine a loved one or your favorite god, whether alive or gone. Now open your arms and reach out to give them a hug. If you can quit laughing, you may experience a warm feeling in your chest, the warmth that goes hand in hand with the emotions that person brings to you. Now imagine doing that with just the right music, lighting and encouragement from those around you. Could the emotions invoked during this physical act of reaching toward an imagined loved one be the reason so many people in different religions continue to incorporate 'lifting holy hands' in their worship ceremonies? Sounds like a question for the pro's...has Valerie Tarico mentioned anything about this in her writings? It's hard to argue with emotional experiences.


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