Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Please Don't Squeeze the Pastor's Wife

I hate being touched. Unless you are my Hubby or my daughter, please stay at least 2feet back from me. I have a very defined sense of personal space and if you cross that, I get edgy. I'll shake your hand briefly, but I don't want to sit there and hold it for longer than the perfunctory 3 second greeting.

I have one friend of about 6 years who is a hugging menace. She hugs everybody- church members, her school kids, even homeless people she comes across, complete strangers. She knows how I feel about hugging, but grabs me anyway. I hate it, but I allow it because she has been a great friend over the years and accepts my quirks, so I try to deal with this particular one of hers.

This new church is lousy with huggers. There's even one 94 year-old woman with a cane who, when she sees me, makes a slow, decrepit bee-line for me so she can plant an old, dry kiss on my cheek. I try to slip away before she gets to me, but she hunts me down. She insists on doing this every Sunday even though I try so hard to avoid her. For someone so old, she has an amazing radar for finding me.

This past Sunday one of the new members (who is also a mom) cornered me, grabbed my hand and said, "You are such a wonderful and light spirit. I'm just so blessed to have you in my life. I would love to have some time to get to know you and learn more about your spiritual journey." WHAT THE HELL DO I SAY TO THAT???? I stuttered out a stunned thank you but didn't offer anything more. She persisted and asked when we might talk. I told her I am always at church and she was welcome to sit down with me here, all the while I was trying to extricate my hand from her death grip. That's all I said. I didn't invite a phone call or a lunch date, nothing. I have no desire to "share my spiritual walk" with anyone. What am I going to say? Well, I have a pack of tarot cards that I used to be pretty good at reading...oh yeah, I speak to dead people...and I believe in the Native American religion more than I do hers? Something tells me that's not what she wants to hear.

But the worst part about this anti-hugging battle is this is such a small town that I run into church people everywhere. I was at the Y this morning and an old woman who had just exited her exercise class, came up to me and asked "You're LIMW aren't you?" When I said yes, she grabbed my neck and squeezed. A sweaty, old woman whose name I didn't even know was perspiring all over me. ICK!!! Thank goodness we weren't in the locker room!

I've tried telling people how I feel about hugging. I think Hubby has even talked about it in one of his sermons. Sometimes I think people believe that Hubby and I have some kind of magic pixie dust on us that, if rubbed on them, gives them special access into heaven. Well I've got news for them, if I did have magic powder, I sure wouldn't share it with the huggers!


Paige said...

I am with you on the huggin--but the only ones I mind are the ones from my mom. I HATE IT. I do not know why, but she has made such a stink about it, it has turned into a big deal. Why she will not just respect my requests to get off of me, I have no idea.

Green said...

You say that it is a deeply personal journey and one that is different for everyone but you wish her all the luck in navigating hers,

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the touching thing. It just creeps me out. And, when someone shakes my hand, I am frantic until I can get somewhere to wash it. I am a germ-phobe and can't quit thinking of all the places hands have been (near eyes, ears, nose, mouth and other places) and all of the things they have touched.

As far as spiritual journies, I suspect more people share your general experiences than the traditionally accepted Christian experience. You just happen to be married to a pastor, which makes your journey a little less "acceptable" to the religeous community. And, unfortunately, there is no good explanation to those folks.