Whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy...—EXODUS 30:29 (KJV)
It was the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the early ’80s. I was performing a sterile procedure on my patient Bryan’s chest catheter, through which he received nutrition. Because Bryan had AIDS, I couldn’t take a chance that he would get an infection, nor could I risk contaminating my own hands, so I put on gloves.
As a registered nurse, I prided myself on being competent and cautious with everything. But after I finished with Bryan, I sensed an inner nudge, urging me to remove my gloves and reach for Bryan’s hand.
His hand was cool to the touch as I gave it a squeeze. I looked into his eyes, so tired from all of his treatments. “Cold hands, warm heart,” I said.
Brian gave me an enormous smile. “That’s what I’ve always heard,” he said. “But you know what really gave me a warm heart? You touched me. Do you know how long it’s been since anyone has touched me?”