A New Way of Showing Love, Gratitude and Affection During COVID-19
Hugging has long been the standard for how we show love, appreciation, and/or support of others. Drawing people close and wrapping our arms around them is how we express emotions such as joy, gratitude, and affection. In recent years, however, hugging, kissing and handshaking have come under scrutiny as an inadvertent way of spreading disease. Fearing they might catch the flu, residents in my mom’s senior living community resorted to blowing kisses, fist/elbow bumps, and hand-over-heart gestures.
Given the reality of COVID-19 in our lives, we’ve had to push the reset button once again. It’s no longer safe to lovingly hug our aging parents, aunts, uncles (or most anyone for that matter) for fear of infecting them. Or being infected. So how can we let the people we love know just how happy we are to see them, from 15 feet away or through a FaceTime or Zoom call? My beloved father-in-law, Beto (Alberto), an incredibly gentle, loving, and learned man, showed me how.
“You can be 10 feet away or 10,000 miles away,” he explained with a smile while clasping his hands together and looking directly into my eyes (as in the picture above). And so, when we visit him, standing 15 feet away with our masks on, Beto greets us with a warm and loving hand hug. We accept his embrace, clasp our hands to our own hearts, and look into his smiling eyes. When it’s time to leave, we do this with a gentle whisper of “I love you.”
My Father-in-law has shown us that by holding our hands together, we can give and receive the same if not more love than a regular hug. It works! When Beto does this, we feel deeply loved and appreciated. And when we reciprocate with Beto Hugs of our own, I know he feels our love.
I am going to honor my father-in-law, and his generous sharing of this sage wisdom, by teaching people about the power of a Beto Hug. In fact, the highlight of my COVID-19 Meet the Challenges/Harvest the Opportunities podcasts last week was what I shared about giving and receiving a Beto Hug. Beto has gifted all of us with new ways of expressing our love for one another. I will forever cherish this, his love for his beloved wife, children (his “hijitos”) and grandkids, and the sacred life lessons he has shared with me.
May giving and receiving Beto Hugs keep you safe and bring love, affection, appreciation, support, and gratitude into your life until the time when we can all fearlessly give one another full-body hugs once again.