Sometimes when I’m cold, or loved well, or just lucky, Renee will lay against my back after I go to bed, and she’ll put her arm around me.
She has a certain way of intertwining her arm with mine which I’m sure no other human would know how to do. After nearly 20 years of practice, most of an embrace between two people falls into well-worn patterns.
When she places her arm around me in that way, I am secure and warm and loved. It’s like a quick-acting sleeping pill. I am comforted and sleep falls upon me within what seems to me like seconds.
I’m a 42-year-old, 185-pound man, and I am most comforted by my wife’s embrace. I’m too big to sit in her lap, but the affect is the same. In mid-life, the crisis is still about a hug.
More than sleep arrives in those moments. The heart-cry of a boy is met there. The cry for a strong foundation finds footing. The confidence needed to engage again in the battle to push back the ever-encroaching darkness takes hold. The assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen become tangible. The eternal kind of fortitude, born in the desperation of brokenness and need, is formed in those moments.
A simple hug. An embrace. The familiarity of love unfeigned.
Oh, God, how could I ever adequately express my gratitude for such a gift?