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.
was seen around,
but I think
the angel was
quite close to us
in the form of
the friendly smile
or gentle touch
of an everyday angel.
Suomalaisia on pidetty niin kotimassa kuin ulkomailla rehellisinä ja luotettavina ihmisinä. Onko näin edelleen? Kaupan liitto teetti hiljattain ulkopuolisen selvityksen varkaushävikin suuruudesta vähittäiskaupassa. Samassa yhteydessä kartoitettiin varkaushävikin torjunnan aiheuttamia kustannuksia. Laskelmat tuottivat melkoisia lukemia: varastetun tavaran arvo on vuodessa puoli miljardia euroa. Toiset puoli miljardia euroa kaupoissa kuluu toimenpiteisiin, joilla näpistelyä ja varastamista yritetään estää. Kaupan alan toimijoiden mukaan varkaudet ovat olleet pidemmän aikaa kasvusuunnassa.
Kodin joulu -levyllä soivat ennen kuulemattomin toteutuksin monet perinteiset joululaulut.
Mihin syntien anteeksiantamus perustuu Raamatun mukaan? Kirjoittaja käy läpi Uuden testamentin anteeksiantamusta käsittelevät kohdat, joiden kautta avautuu monipuolinen ja selkeä kuva aiheesta.