Do you know when to embrace someone, and when to refrain from embracing them? A time to embrace. Embrace to show support. Embrace to show love. Embrace a child. Embrace romantically. Embrace Change.
What does it mean to embrace?
To clasp in the arms, to hug
To surround or enclose
To receive eagerly
To adopt an idea, faith, lifestyle
Remember when you were a small child, and you and your parents visited your grandparents on the farm. Each summer they had that big "family reunion". Grandma would grab hold of you and squeeze you so hard. Her embrace was firm and her arms surrounded you. Then she'd pinch your tummy and say you had to put some meat on those bones!
And then there was aunt Martha. She wasn't the embracing kind. Instead, she'd reach out and pinch both of your cheeks. Uncle Bob had his own brand of embracing. Actually it was much more of a headlock.
The day you left home, for college, for the military, or to strike out on your own - was it a memorable day? With hugs? And warm embraces? Or a day less memorable? Alone. With quiet? Or anger? Or just another day, without embracing?
Are moments of embracing pleasant, happy, memories? Does a smile come to your lips, or your heart, when you think back on them? Or look forward to them?
Refrain from Embracing
If there is a time to embrace, what about a time to refrain from embracing?
The image is one of contrast: being together with other people, and being alone. Sometimes refraining from an embrace could be a situation where it isn't appropriate or practical. Sitting in a classroom, or the office, would usually result in people staring at you it you hugged someone. Embracing while driving a car is just a bad idea, it's impractical.
What about when "to refrain from embracing" does mean to be alone? Is it ever good to be alone?
Yes. Solitude can be a time to reflect. To regroup. To work through processes in your mind. To meditate on the awesome power and love of God. To pray. Solitude can add necessary balance to the rest of your life.
Jesus understood this need for a time, to refrain from embracing. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." ~ Mark 1:35 NIV ~
It is good to seek out and find times to embrace, and times to refrain from embracing.