How to Give a Hug 5,000 Miles Away

The following is a learning process; a learning process of how to give a hug 5,000 miles away.

Sometimes I’m not the best with words, sometimes I don’t know what to how, or how to say it, and other times there simply are no words. Sometimes a hug is all I can give, but sometimes that’s not possible.

What do you do when your sister tells you she’s pregnant and you cry tears of joy, only for those tears to turn into sorrow a few short weeks later when she tells you it was a failed pregnancy?

What do you do when one of your best friends is upset and heartbroken and you’re falling asleep on Skype because of the time difference?

What do you do when a dear friend’s brother is suffering? Or when another dear friend loses her brother to a violent act so close to home?

I can tell them I’m praying for them, but really I want to be praying with them, sitting next to them. I tell them if words could take pain away, I would never stop talking. I cry for them, but I want to cry with them, handing them tissues. I tell them I wish I could just give them a hug, and honestly, I wish I knew how to give them a hug when I’m so far away.

These situations seem the make the distance multiply. I might as well be living on Saturn.

The world is spinning fast here in Uruguay, each day a new adventure. A new Spanish phrase learned, a new bus route conquered, a new friend met, but the world is spinning fast back at home as well. How do I stop the spinning for just a moment, to give a hug?– Because frankly, it’s spinning faster than I can speak.

This year is about growing and learning, and learning to cope with pain, suffering, and loss is a lesson I am still trying to figure out. Do I send them a picture of me with outstretched arms? Do I hug the camera as we are Skyping? Do I tell them every day I wish I could give them a hug?

When we look to the moon, it’s the same moon, when we pray to God, it’s to the same God. While I, myself, cannot physically hug these people, I can hope that my prayers will embrace them just as my arms would. I can pray for healing, for peace, for calmness, for focus, for love, for compassion, and the list goes on. Feeling the presence of God in a time of pain can be one of the most marvelous things, and I can hope, and I can pray that the people I cannot hug will feel that presence, because it is greater and stronger than any hug I could possibly give (and I’m pretty darn strong).

That’s what I’ve learned so far. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll have it figured out, but no promises.



This song makes me happy.

*This post was a heck of a lot more organized in my mind, but once yet, words seem to fail me.


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