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We were taking the red-eye flight from Denver to Philadelphia.

One of the late boarders caught my attention as he made his way to the center seat two rows ahead of me. He had a lot of physical characteristics of my son's friend who lives in Denver. But with the face mask on, I couldn't be sure.

I texted my son to confirm his friend's location but didn't get a reply before I had to turn off the phone for departure.

So I kept an eye on the guy. Until I fell asleep.

An hour or so before landing, I woke up. The young man had his mask off. It wasn't my son's friend. He and the two young women sitting in the aisle seats were standing up and talking with each other.

They had all boarded at different times, so there was no indication that they knew each other.

Based on what I saw as they sat down to prepare for landing, the young woman sitting in the middle of this group was a fearful flyer.

As the flight started its approach, the young man put his head on her shoulder. The other young woman reached across the aisle and took her hand. At one point, she started massaging her hand.

Strangers who briefly met offered what they had to help someone in need: a touch.

During the shut-down, even introverts like me missed the occasional hug or handshake from a friend.

But clearly, the touch of a stranger can be just as valuable.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3)

- Ann Warner


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