’Tis the season to be warm with hugs, virtual or real

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, December 6, 2006

Last week’s column on loneliness concluded by suggesting an antidote: a nice warm hug on a cold winter day. Thank you, my coffee companions, for all the nice warm hugs you’ve sent my way.

Loneliness is a great concern for many of you. Author Philip Thatcher responded from North Vancouver that this festive time of year accentuates the mood of loneliness, “an underscoring of an inescapable aspect of our contemporary consciousness.”

From Edmonton, Barbara Stevens wrote that we are touching on “a feeling that few people want to acknowledge or discuss.” Wheelchair-bound for some years, Barbara went on to say that “loneliness is like other challenges that face us in our sojourn here on earth. We have a choice. We can either give in to it or do something with our lives.”

Barbara has a motto: “Attitude determines altitude.” She has chosen, she says, “to be high as a mountain.”

Teresa Parker, of Wetaskiwin, a newcomer to our coffee table, received last week’s column as a forward from one of our other coffee companions. She is working through the loneliness of a broken marriage.

“My friends have tried their best to be supportive, but it’s just not the same,” she wrote. “It was good to be reminded that I am not alone. Many others are lonely, and it is in reaching out that I strengthen myself. Even though I don’t like the situation which precipitated the growth, I am thankful I can turn it into something positive and that God has sent me so many angels (you included).”

On the topic of healing loneliness through hugs, I received a note from my white-bearded buddy, “Santa” Leo Peters.

Leo’s a Cochrane volunteer with Alberta Mentor Foundation for Youth. He is also a motivation speaker and writer and, at this time of year, one of the most believable Santa Clauses that ever held a sparkling-eyed child on his lap. He wrote:

WORKING AS SANTA – it is the best job in the world – I get to see kids all the time that need a hug, take a hug, and come back for more hugs. I also see the very lonely, sometimes from a foster family, or from a single parent set that don't want anything for themselves but just want for their “Mom to be happy,” or “my Dad to come home,” or “my Grandma to get well,” or “for everyone to be happy.”

Sometimes I say to them, “Santa needs a hug.” Hugs are the chicken soup for the soul for the lonely. And let’s face it, we all need lots of hugs in our life. Whenever you give a hug, you get a hug. Over Christmas, Santa gets a lot of hugs, maybe more than the record holder for hugs, Leo Buscaglia. Warren, every time you write a column, you send out another hug to thousands. Keep up the good work.

—Love n Light
“Santa” Leo Peters, Calgary

A FEW YEARS AGO Leo wrote a song with lonely kids and their parents in mind. Here are some of the lyrics to “I’m Sending You a Little Hug Today” (© 2003 Leo Peters):

I’m sending you a little hug today
With loads of love from me to tell you it’s okay,
To know I understand, to know I care for you,
To help, to heal, to hope, my friend, in everything you do –
I’m sending you a little hug today.

Hugs and hope go hand-in-hand and humour helps us too,
Hugs can show we’re listening and laughing here with you –
I’m sending you a little hug today.

The beauty of our friendship, the memories that we own,
The laughs we’ve shared together, the fun that we have known –
I’m sending you a little hug to-day.

Hugs help to heal our hurting heart, hugs help to show the way,
Hugs comfort us and give us hope, hugs really make our day –
I’m sending you a little hug today.

Well, my coffee companions, on that upbeat note, I’ll close for now by sending all of you a little hug today.

© 2006 Warren Harbeck

Return to Coffee With Warren home page