So far this summer we’ve been keeping a pretty regular schedule going out hugging on Sunday afternoons. We’ve now hugged Ambassadors from 77 countries (that we know of); 55 countries this year alone! As we’ve mentioned, we’ve hugged people in sadness and we’ve hugged people in joy and everywhere in between. While we were out again yesterday, the previous Sunday (August 5) brought several things together for us.
The first was a blog post written by author Robert Fulghum, entitled “Names That Remain” (yes, we stole his title for this post). You can read it for yourself; we’ll wait.Welcome back. In his post, Robert talks of those who have come before us – those who reside only in stories, in memories, sometimes in images, but essentially in name only. In some cultures, once a person passes on, their name is never mentioned again. In others there are special anniversaries to honour the dead, as they live now on a different plane and serve as advisors to the living. As technology continues to advance, however, it can sometimes seem as though those who have passed have never left. This can be something like digitally adding a deceased actor into a current movie, but it’s more frequently to be a case where we have audio or video of the person him/herself. For example, Michael Reichmann (photographer and founder of the Luminous Landscape) passed away from cancer two years ago, but in the past week or so his videographer (Chris Sanderson) has uncovered and shared two video interviews that have resided on his server but never before been shared. In some small way, Michael is still with us.
We read Robert’s post in the morning, and went out for our hugging session in the afternoon. It was a very powerful outing, both in terms of the numbers of people who met with us and the depth of connections they shared. One of the first Ambassadors we encountered that day was a woman who hugged Mike first, then Marcia, then stood back a moment, looked Marcia in the eyes and said quietly, “Good-bye mom. It’s time.” Yeah.
On the other end of the spectrum, we had the opportunity to meet and hug Velma! In the past nine years we’ve shared hugs with a robot (Hitchbot), two bearded dragons and a number of dogs, but this is our first dinosaur! If she happens by our way again, we’ll be happy to share more hugs with her. Yes, coelacanths have also been around for about 65 million years, but a coelacanth tends to be a bit of a cold fish when it comes to hugging… 😉
Remember to hug the ones you love today. Or a stranger. Or, preferably, both!!