I received an email from an old friend who just happens to be a retired consultant psychiatrist. He shared his concern about an impending ‘avalanche of mental illness’ following this period of lockdown. I share his concern and pray often for those who are closed in with issues of the mind that are being intensified and increased by this enforced isolation.
One factor of this is the absence of the grace of touch for many millions. I recognise that I am greatly blessed in this regard because I am at home with my loving wife, but for so many, it may be weeks since they touched anyone, or were touched in return. I learned the value of human touch in Intensive Care, which I tell more about in Through the Storms. I had been there for two or three weeks on that occasion, hooked up to the many machines that were keeping me alive. Every now and then a nurse would have to come and take my pulse the old way, holding my wrist gently between thumb and fingers. I relished those moments of simple kindness, physical contact with a fellow human being. Touch brings reassurance, the sharing of life, closeness, and science tells us, can even increase our store of the well-being hormone Serotonin.
If you have a pet, you will know how much they mean in this regard. If not, then the absence of being touched is just one of the pressures you are facing. Can I just point you to the One who reached out and touched so many while He was on Earth? Jesus was criticised for His willingness to embrace those who were untouchable in society, such as lepers and people of low moral reputation. Some years ago we used to sing; “When I feel the touch of Your hand upon my life, it causes me to sing a song, that I love You Lord”. It may seem a bit sentimental but it is real to many millions of believers in Christ who are finding that He is there with them in their isolation at this time.
I am also grateful for the technology that can help us all keep in touch at this time. Our church is using Live-streaming via YouTube to broadcast hope-giving services each Sunday morning at 10.45am which can then be viewed later if you wish. Just search for Vazon Church on YouTube or go to the church website http://www.vazonelim.org.gg. We are also part of #stayconnect Guernsey which is making wifi and tablets available to those who are unable to keep in touch with loved ones, and if you know anyone who could benefit from a free loan or gift of such things, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to help.
Meanwhile – some folk are recommending my book as ‘essential reading’ for the lockdown, and I would really encourage you to get hold of a copy. Here’s a link you can use, https://amzn.to/3ayFJdj, or email me at the address above and I will send you a signed copy by return with an invoice for bank transfer. But above all, stay safe – in every way – including mentally! God bless.