Group Hug

When the motivational speaker told the audience of job-seeking women that they each should have a power network of friends, a woman in the front of the room raised her hand and said, “I was in an accident eight years ago, I’ve never had a job, and I don’t have any friends.” She said this in the saddest way. It was her one truth, the one she had been saving to say out loud and the speaker seemed honored to be the occasion of her speaking this truth.

The speaker hugged her and then the other women sitting at her table hugged her and then people across the room came to hug her. And then the speaker told the audience that everyone should hug each other. So they did. The hugging went on for long minutes.

But I don’t think it healed the woman who had been in an accident and who had never had a job and had no friends.

It reminded me of the time so long ago when my brother came home from school one day and announced that his girlfriend’s brother hadn’t gotten any Valentine cards at school that day. So we bought packages of Valentines and signed them all so he could take his girlfriend’s brother a big bag of Valentines. But I knew when I was signing the cards that my brother’s girlfriend’s brother would see right through it. It made his situation even sadder than it already was. Getting ginned up Valentines.

It’s like getting ginned up hugs.

I hugged the woman who had been in an accident, who had never had a job, and who had no friends. She smiled a big smile which made me glad like I’d done a good deed.

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