Thursday, January 7, 2010

30 Days of Touching

Day 4: Worry Stone

Snowed in, I spent the day working from home, enclosed all around in a lovely winter wonderland. We have at least six inches of powder covering the ground, icing the tree branches and covering the bird feeders. Our little feathered friends might not feel as jubilant as I do about this frosty blanket.

This afternoon, I sat down for an hour and did some reading. I noticed how, involuntarily, I began to fiddle with my hair. I do this thing, especially now that my hair is longer, where I take a strand and twist it. I have always played with my hair. I always played with my kid’s hair. In fact, even my son had a thing for hair. Whenever I held him, he would reach for my hair and rub it between his fingers.

Why do I do that? Why do babies rub the edges of their blanket or the fur off their teddy bears? It seems to be a form of self-comfort. Something about twiddling my hair between my fingers is soothing to me.

That brings to mind a gift David gave me during college. He gave me a “worry stone” before I left for a summer in Europe to study music. The polished stone had an indentation in the middle and the idea was to rub it when you felt anxious about something. I kept it in my pocket and held it whenever I felt uneasy as I flew for hours across the Atlantic Ocean.

In the last few years, I have grown to appreciate other tactile experiences that help me be comforted by God. Holding a smooth, wooden cross and rubbing it; lighting a candle and watching it as I pray; holding a cup in my hand as a symbol of my life and asking God to fill it—all help bring the comfort and presence of God home to me through the sense of touch.

Would you be willing to try a new tactile spiritual practice?

Here’s an idea to explore during prayer:

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6, 7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

During a time of prayer, take a smooth stone in your hand and hold it. Then, think about the things that worry you. As something comes to mind, rub the stone. Pray and tell God what you need and rub the worry away. Thank God for what he has done and will do in regard to your concern. Receive his peace.

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