One of the hard realities of life is the fact that married couples do not normally live an equal lifespan. One usually precedes their beloved into the grave. The result is widowhood for one or the other.
My mom became a widow. All of my grandmothers became widows. My paternal aunties all became widows.
The statistics are staggering. According to the U.S. Census Bureau at the turn of the millennium, 800,000 people are widowed each year in the United States. Of the 800,000 nearly 700,000 are women. Widows normally live for an average of 14 years after the onset of widowhood.
According to AARP, at the turn of the millennium, there were 13.6 million people in the United States who had lost their spouse. Over 11 million of those widowed, in the US, were women. Widows greatly outnumber widowers.
The Book of Ruth is an account of three widows in the Bible. As Naomi and her two daughters-in-laws navigate their incredible losses, they remain together as support one for another. Eventually, Orpah goes her own way, but Ruth remains with Naomi.
There is one verse, which demonstrates two needs that widows have in common. Ruth 1:14 says, “And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.” They mourned together and they gave each other a hug.
One of the things I have heard repeatedly is that after the death of a husband, widows no longer experience a significant touch. They don’t get hugged much anymore. Even children tend not to hug their widowed mothers.
Study after study, testimony after testimony, experience after experience tells us the importance of getting a hug now and then. People who are deprived of the sensory blessing of a touch do not do fare as well in life.
In James 1:27, the Bible tells us that “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress”. One way of practicing “pure and undefiled religion is to give a widow a hug.
If you have a widow in your family or know of a widow, the next time you see them, give them a hug. Then see if there is something you can do for them to bless them. In the doing, you will be practicing pure and undefiled religion.
Something to think about…