Please don’t hug me (your way)

 

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Dear Church,

I enjoyed your service this week, thank you so much for the welcome.

You need to know it’s a big deal for anyone walking into a church for the first time – some more than others. So, I just wanted to point out a few things that might help you in understanding some of us who walk through your big glass doors.

Firstly, I realize why hugging is really important. You’re excitedly declaring ‘Welcome, come and be part of our church family.’

But you need to know…I can’t hug. Your way.

Touch repulses me, if you try and hug me my skin crawls, I actually want to vomit and my whole state becomes unbalanced. (You might want to Google sensory processing issues to understand more)

So, just for future reference, try not to presume everyone you meet is a hugger. When you get to know me well, I’ll show you my sign for hugging. And we can do that as I walk into the foyer rather than…well…what happened.

I really understand that eye contact is important; you show you are listening – you are giving your attention to me and no one else. The problem is, I can’t give you eye contact because my eyes sting and it feels like tiny hot needles are poking me. But please don’t think I’m being rude. I’m happy that you talking to me, I just don’t like you looking into my eyes. Into me.

Oh and finally, I know I got up and down a lot in the service. It’s not that I don’t like being there or I’m struggling with the message or I’m demonised! Restlessness is a side effect of the medication I’m taking, so, I get up and wander around until I settle. Easy? Sort of, depending the volume of the music is and how bright the lights are. It can be tiring being me sometimes.

Thanks for reading  – I will come back next week. I know it’s about us understanding each other and I know you have a lot of stuff going on that no one knows about. I can see that in you, really see it, it’s just that my stuff is more obvious…

I’ll close with my life verse from Psalm 139 that I love to encourage people with.

I will offer You my grateful heart,

for I am Your unique creation,

filled with wonder and awe.

You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;

Your works are wonderful;

I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.

I believe this. Do you?

Regards,

Hannah.

P.S. I also have Aspergers.  I forget mention it sometimes…

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4 thoughts on “Please don’t hug me (your way)

  1. I totally get it. I barely tolerate handshakes. I left a hugging church just because they expected me to be just like them on their terms and to like hugging because they like hugs. I really don’t. That’s why I often choose to sit in the middle of the pew, it limits others access to me and there’s less people I have to deal with.

  2. Thanks! I also would add that greeters are very anxious to shake everyone’s hand, and I understand the intention behind it. But I think a genuine “Good Morning” w/o a handshake can seem more genuine and less informal, especially with the younger generation. Let’s be sensitive and recognize that there are many different ways of making new people feel comfortable and accepted. I believe our church family has the best of intentions, and has been often referred to as a friendly body of people. I love it!
    L.P.

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