My wife and I are spending a few days in Asheville, our second time to this amazing place, to celebrate our wedding anniversary. So, we decided, that while we were here, we would spend some time on the street, she playing music on her harmonium, and me offering hugs. We weren’t sure how it would go, but we embraced the adventure of it all.
It was busy there. There were a lot of people on the street. Families, groups of friends, persons that appeared homeless. And, the hugs were welcomed. People would yell from across the street that they needed a hug. Kids would walk by, looking over their shoulders back at me, as they held their parents hand. One family stopped with their three young children, and they were all so open and loving. Ready to receive that which we all crave.
It’s funny how being in a new place can feel scary, yet feel familiar at the same time. What I offer to others has no specific destination; no one that approached me knew who I was, if I was from the city or just visiting. Some people appeared more afraid than I was; not making eye contact, looking uncomfortable.
One of the things that I love most about offering hugs to others, is when they aren’t sure if they want one, they walk by, and then, come back. Some running back to receive that embrace. Some thankful that it exists in the world. Wanting to believe that connection with other humans is still what we need and that it is safe and okay to have.
Long after my hug offerings, we attended a community drum circle at a park in the city. I saw this young woman and her mother again. The world is so small, we just think it isn’t. We just think that peace and love are not possible, because it is scary to believe that it could still exist. I am grateful for life, grateful for love, grateful to have the opportunity to really look into someone’s eyes, and help them to understand that we all matter. That they are love as much as I. That there is sameness among us, even when all we see is difference.
That love exists, and it is Good.