• Tanja Battle

Namaste, y'all.

Most often, when inspired to write, it's as a result of a moment in which the need to express myself has an urgency that requires immediate attention. Other times, it's the result of a moment so inexplicably profound that I can't seem to fully articulate it without first dissecting what it even was. As background, I am the daughter of one of the finest men I've ever known. His love language, if I had to guess, was Acts of Service. My daughter's is Words of Affirmation. Mine is neither of these. I remember hugging my dad every time I came and went for a visit to Augusta. He always hugged back but it was stiff and obligatory but not once indicative of him not loving me. I never questioned the latter. My daughter, too, is not a hugger. Hers aren't quite as stiff but she is not really a fan of them. "I don't like to be touched," she announces periodically, as if I need to be reminded. My love language, if you haven't guessed, is Physical Touch. This brings me to a moment that has been sitting with me since Mercer University's Homecoming earlier this month. As you can imagine, hugs were bountiful as people who hadn't seen each other since the last one, or even longer, embraced one another. There, too, were hugs of obligation, awkwardly shared because everyone else before them had done likewise. There were hugs of genuine joy of having reconnected after however long the separation. There were hugs of familiarity and mutual acknowledgment and bonds of shared experience. And then I received a hug from a woman I hadn't seen in years. We had been mere acquaintances with limited interaction, and though we shared strong relationships with mutual friends, our knowledge of each other was limited to the stories we had heard through those individuals and what Facebook revealed through pictures and posts. Extended, meaningful, face-to-face conversations had not been our experience. Hence the need to marinate in the experience before sharing it. I happened upon her as she engaged with another alumna until she saw me and offered a heartfelt, genuine hug. In a matter of seconds, it was as though decades of experiences and feelings of mutual loves were transmitted from her to me causing emotions to catch in the back of my throat and tears to well ever so briefly. Reminded, in that moment, that we didn't have a history that was filled with deep connection, I wondered for weeks what it was that I felt and only now, as I type, do I realize that it was the gift of Divine love that transcended any need to be previously connected or understood. It was as if God was saying, you think you don't really know each other, but you do, because of who I am. It felt like a gift, one I hadn't fully understood until this very moment. So, I offer a sincere thanks to this incredible woman for being a conduit for the gift, delivered by way of my love language, so there was no possible way I could miss it.

The Divine in Me Salutes the Divine in You

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