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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: What if I laughed, touched and had the courage to trust

Vieraskieliset / In-english
25.4.2022 6.00

Juttua muokattu:

8.4. 12:29

Text: Hel­mi Yr­jä­nä

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

At the be­gin­ning of the ye­ar, I wrote down three wis­hes. I al­so inc­lu­ded them in my pra­yers.

I wis­hed for more laugh­ter this ye­ar. I would like to hear child­ren gig­g­le with ge­nui­ne joy or howl with de­light and my dear ones laugh hap­pi­ly, chuck­le be­ne­vo­lent­ly, tit­ter be­hind their hand, or dis­sol­ve in un­cont­rol­lab­le laugh­ter. In ad­di­ti­on to he­a­ring pe­op­le laugh, I would de­fi­ni­te­ly love to join them, so­me­ti­mes ti­red enough not to know if I am laug­hing or crying (the ot­hers kno­wing even less).

When I he­ard the warm and hap­py laugh­ter of a friend yes­ter­day, I won­de­red if we could so­me­how pre­ser­ve laugh­ter for the bad days. For sure, there are ways to re­cord sound, but I find them a bit dull. A jar of laugh­ter would be a fun re­min­der of the days spent laug­hing hard and the te­ars of hap­pi­ness that fol­lo­wed. The jar would bub­b­le in cheer­ful co­lors and in­vi­te pe­op­le to open it. For me, ho­we­ver, there might not be enough laugh­ter left for a co­lor­less and ti­red day, be­cau­se I would use up one day’s laugh­ter du­ring one hap­py eve­ning. It would be lo­ve­ly to curl up in bed to lis­ten to the joy of my dear ones.

And if the day’s laugh­ter were not used right away, it might go stale in the jar, lose its bub­b­li­ness and end up soun­ding like bleak ar­ti­fi­ci­al guf­faws. You would the­re­fo­re have to col­lect and store new laugh­ter eve­ry day. That is ac­tu­al­ly a char­ming and com­for­ting thought: one could hear new kinds of laugh­ter ari­sing from dif­fe­rent si­tu­a­ti­ons and trig­ge­red by dif­fe­rent events eve­ry day. And if one were ab­le to lis­ten to just one burst of laugh­ter from a fa­mi­li­ar or even unk­nown per­son, I am sure the co­lor of life would have more hap­py to­nes of yel­low.

Du­ring the past stran­ge ye­ars, I have oc­ca­si­o­nal­ly pau­sed to won­der how much ea­sier eve­ryt­hing would be if we did not take life too se­ri­ous­ly. Ins­te­ad of cons­tant­ly wor­rying, we could free­ly let our dre­ams float among the light blue clouds. And whe­ne­ver we feel that the world is an ut­ter­ly hor­rib­le place, laugh­ter would su­re­ly help. I would like to quo­te what Har­ry Pot­ter says at the end of the fourth book of the se­ries: "I could do with a few laughs. We could all do with a few laughs. I've got a fee­ling we are going to need them more than usu­al be­fo­re long." (J.K Row­ling, Har­ry Pot­ter and the Gob­let of Fire.)

My se­cond wish was that, when I meet my friends this ye­ar, I would dare to touch them. To hug, to shake hands, or even just to brush light­ly to show that they are worth touc­hing. It is es­pe­ci­al­ly im­por­tant for pe­op­le who live alo­ne or do not so­ci­a­li­ze much to be touc­hed on­ce in a while.

Touc­hing is a huge and enc­han­ting to­pic. It may in­vol­ve good but al­so pain­ful me­mo­ries. When I was at Opis­to, I con­duc­ted a small sur­vey among the stu­dents about the cul­tu­re of touc­hing, and I am hap­py I have kept the re­sults. It was, and still is, in­te­res­ting to read about the dif­fe­rent ex­pe­rien­ces of touc­hing, es­pe­ci­al­ly those that are cle­ar­ly dif­fe­rent from mine. Some of the res­pon­dents said that, be­fo­re co­ming to Opis­to, they did not feel com­for­tab­le to hug their friends. Many found it ea­sier to hug their friends than their fa­mi­ly mem­bers, and those who were used to hug­ging at home al­so found it ea­sier to touch ot­her pe­op­le. None of the res­pon­dents felt com­for­tab­le about touc­hing pe­op­le they did not know. Any­way, I was hap­py to read that many found touc­hing an es­sen­ti­al part of life.

I find it per­fect­ly na­tu­ral to touch pe­op­le who are close to me. By touc­hing I show that I care about them. It is al­so nor­mal in our fa­mi­ly to touch each ot­her. We may not ver­ba­li­ze our fee­lings but show them by touc­hing. It is qui­te com­mon in our fa­mi­ly to soft­ly touch or tick­le so­me­o­ne in pas­sing or even give them a friend­ly poke. Hug­ging is al­so a na­tu­ral part of life, and we hug ne­ar­ly al­wa­ys when gree­ting or sa­ying good­bye.

When the pan­de­mic be­gan, the need to main­tain so­ci­al dis­tan­ce made it ne­ar­ly im­pos­sib­le to touch pe­op­le. Be­fo­re that, I used to hug my friends and shake hands with my ac­qu­ain­tan­ces eve­ry time we met or left each ot­her. At first the lack of con­tact see­med stran­ge, so­me­how cold and too ca­su­al, but we got used to it pret­ty quick­ly. So quick­ly in fact that it was al­most scary. When things imp­ro­ved for a while, I won­de­red about hug­ging. So­me­ti­mes I did hug, but of­ten I didn’t.

I re­mem­ber how, du­ring the first fall of the pan­de­mic, a friend told me about ex­pec­ting baby, and I did not dare to hug her. I cong­ra­tu­la­ted her ac­ross a coup­le of me­ters. It felt qui­te si­nis­ter, as I would nor­mal­ly have gone and hug­ged her to pie­ces. I hug­ged this friend for the first time in more than a ye­ar, when we came to­get­her for her baby sho­wer about a month be­fo­re the baby was due. It was dif­fi­cult to un­ders­tand that I could not have shown her my sup­port and em­pat­hy by hug­ging for such a long time.

I need touc­hing, as does eve­ry­bo­dy el­se. The best re­me­dy for a shor­ta­ge of touc­hing are child­ren, who know ins­tinc­ti­ve­ly how to touch. The small, gent­le hands of child­ren are such a great bles­sing! Du­ring the Christ­mas break I gave and re­cei­ved hugs and tick­les, ten­der stro­king and ge­ne­ral­ly en­jo­yed the pre­sen­ce of ot­hers. Just think about the hor­mo­nes of wel­l­being that flow from a ca­ring con­tact. It is ea­sy to be hap­py when you are touc­hed.

My third wish is that we would all be pa­tient enough to trust. We should trust that all things go exact­ly as the He­a­ven­ly Fat­her has me­ant them to go. There will be days that are ea­sier, sa­fer and more nor­mal, if that is God’s will. Wai­ting for those days of nor­ma­li­ty, time will pass quick­ly and more ple­a­sant­ly if we laugh and ex­pe­rien­ce friend­ly phy­si­cal con­tact. Let us be eve­ry­day an­gels to each ot­her.

I found on the road

a pair of dus­ty,

shrun­ken and stai­ned

wings of an an­gel.

The road was

about to grab them and

make them its own co­lor,

dull and dir­ty.

No an­gel

wit­hout wings

was seen around,

but I think

the an­gel was

qui­te close to us

in the form of

the friend­ly smile

lo­ving look

or gent­le touch

of an eve­ry­day an­gel.

(Hel­mi Yr­jä­nä)


Herra on kuningas! Riemuitkoon maa, iloitkoot meren saaret ja rannat! Pilvi ja pimeys ympäröi häntä, hänen istuintaan kannattavat vanhurskaus ja oikeus. Ps. 97:1–2

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