There used to be a time when I hated hugs. I hated any form of physical contact, kahit shaking hands. What is there to like about two humans sticking their bodies together, with arms around each other para di makawala? Physical contact, ew. Sweaty arms, ew.
But things rapidly changed when I started going to Bradford Church, because apparently *almost* everyone there loved to hug. It doesn’t matter kung once palang kayo nagkakilala, basta if they meet you at the hallways, get ready to be hugged.
And they are not ordinary hugs, I tell you. They are tight and warm and you know that the person hugging you is smiling kahit na hindi mo nakikita iyong mukha niya.
Let me tell you some of the unforgettable Bradford hugs I got:
1. It was my birthday that day, two years ago yata, and all my life I spent my birthdays with family kasi natapat siya na summer. So no classmates, no friends, just me and my twin brobro.
So I went to Bradford that day. Pag-akyat ko sa may ramp sa gilid ng Sanctuary, one of my titos in church was there rin (sooner or later sa bradford, everyone becomes your ate/kuya/tito/tita/mommy/daddy/nay/tay. Promise.) He beckoned me over para mabati niya ako. So okay, lumapit ako, magmamano sana BUT he hugged me instead when he greeted. I had to slip from the hug and say thanks awkwardly and go hide somewhere to cry because I was certain that hugs from a father felt like that. 100%. Nakakapanibago ho, at nakakataba ng puso, mga kafreshness.
2. This is a more general one, pero there have been a lot of messy times in my life witnessed by other people and they sit with me and pray with me and cry with me, and it always ends with a hug. Parang glue, mga friends, it somehow sticks your broken pieces together. Ewan ko ba. Something about a heartfelt prayer and a hug. Lethal combo. Kung ayaw mong gumaan ang pakiramdam mo, iwasan mo iyan. Haha.
3. Eto. A few minutes after The Bad Thing That Happened, I was shell-shocked, traumatized, hurt. But the thing about life is, kapag may nangyaring ganyan sa iyo, hindi ka pwede umabsent sa klase dahil wala namang medical certificate for a broken heart. Hindi ka excused. Kahit na ba pagdating mo sa klase ay hindi ka magfufunction.
So there I was, naglalakad palayo sa bahay, ang mga luha ay nasa gilid ng mata, ready to pour. Wag kang iiyak, Kriz, pagtitinginan ka sa jeep. Malalagas ang bb cream. Wag kang iiyak. Nakasalubong ko ang isa sa aking mga bradford friends. Somehow alam niya ang nangyari just a few minutes ago and wala rin siyang masabi but i-eextend niya ang mga braso niya. The arms say all the right words.
So ako naman, I just kind of melt into that hug because at least someone is holding you kesa naman magmelt ka into an ugly puddle on the floor. Para bang, when you were walking towards the person nakikita niyang unti-unting nahuhulog ang mga bahagi ng buhay mo at hindi mo na kayang dalhin lahat, hindi mo na kaya hawakan lahat, bumibitaw ka na. We just hugged there, sa sidewalk sa Jones sa may sakayan ng jeep .Iniyak ko na ang Atlantic Ocean sa balikat niya. We prayed. And sumakay na ako ng jeep. God places friends in your path when you need them the most.
At, yes, nalagas ang bb cream ko.
Kanina, papunta ako ng school, may nakasalubong ako na ate from bradford and she asked me saan ako papunta and sabi ko may exam ako and she hugged me and said I can do it. Walang drama. It was simple. But it was then that I remembered all my unforgettable hugs from people like them and how many times those hugs have saved me and stuck all the loose pieces of me back into place. And how Jesus is not here with us now physically, but I am 100% certain He was there for every life-giving hug, every warm, tight embrace.
So friend, if you ever need a friendly, life-giving hug, you can go to Bradford. Where it’s okay to not be okay.
Rampant sa hugs ang 7:30 AM Sunday Service. Agahan mo ng konti para umabot ka sa Fellowship Song. Umupo ka sa may front row. Doon, makakatikim ka ng yakap na though from a stranger, you’ll feel na para bang galing sa family member.
Or, pag Fridays, sa praisenight. Some of us are really the hugging type. (Oo nagbago na ho ako).
Hugs don’t fix problems, yeah, but they do change our disposition and give us hope and truly they convert the non-hugger types into the hug-loving ones. Try nyo. 🙂