A tactile hug that speaks of God's love
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
Network member Eileen Brassington writes: ‘At the end of the recent Zoom workshop “Including people with dementia in worship”, Debbie Ducille asked the attendees to wrap a scarf or shawl around their neck as part of the closing worship. In a cold Devon cottage bedroom, I snuggled into its warmth and thus felt really impacted when Debbie used this as a symbol of being enfolded in the love of God.
‘At my next Anna Chaplaincy visit to a lovely Christian lady with dementia, I took along a particularly tactile, cosy scarf and gently wound it around her neck and shoulders. She loved it and looked really elegant in it. When I suggested this represented being wrapped in the love of God, she just lit up, holding it even closer during our prayer time. How could I take this scarf away?
‘Telling this story at a recent national Zoom get-together, it was suggested that gathering a stock of scarves from charity shops or friendly knitters might help many more people with dementia enjoy this wonderful way to experience being loved by God.’
‘I was so encouraged to hear this story from Eileen’, Debbie Ducille says, ‘and wanted to share it, alongside the words of the prayers offered in the workshop. Here are the two simple ideas used: I hope they bless you, and those amongst whom you minister.’
Take a small object that you like to hold in your hand: enjoy enfolding it, noticing how it feels. If any memories are connected with the object, go with them for a while, and be thankful. As we hold this object safely in our hands, we know that we are held too: we are safe in God’s love. We might be feeling anxious for another person – as we hold this object, say their name before God, and hear these comforting words: ‘God is near to you; God is near to ______. We ask you, Lord, to hold ______ safely in your love. Fill our hearts with peace; we hold on to your peace.’ Amen.
Wrap a warm shawl, scarf or blanket around yourself: take a moment to feel warm, loved and cherished. If any memories are connected to this experience, go with them for a while, and be thankful. As we let our bodies experience that warm, surrounded feeling, use your hands and face to feel the softness of the fabric – how comforting! Take a moment, and breathe deeply; God says to you, ‘You are loved; you are cherished; you are not alone.’ Psalm 32:10 (NIV) says, ‘The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him’. ‘The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds______, who trusts in him.’ Thank you for your love, Lord. Amen.