Comfort is a guitar perched on a knee. Picking and strumming and humming.
Comfort is a quick text to get dinner.
Comfort is everyone at the table together.
Comfort is a conversation on accountability and integrity and how we hold each other’s hearts. We hold something sacred.
In the States, I equated comfort with Complacency. Stagnation, isolation, a routine, a rut.
But living in a foreign country, my eyes are opened to the blessing of comfort. Not plush towels and hot water and lavender eye masks kind of comfort, but another kind of security, reassurance. Reassurance of my own worth and value.
The comfort of having friends who’ve known me for a million years. The comfort of speaking my native language with other native speakers. The comfort of a church body that speaks love and truth and beauty into my life whether I want to receive it or not.
Comfort can be consolation. And walking with. A back rub, a hand written note, a silent smile.
These last few weeks I’ve felt more home here. Not home home, but moments of home, feelings of home, small comforts of home. I’ve felt recalibrated. Calmed. More secure. More me.
More sure of myself and what I want.
Less needy. Less desperate. Less grasping.
Are these the seeds of the last the months, giving birth to grace so wild and wonderful? Giving birth to comfort. In bits and pieces that sound like voices joined in worship in my living room and giggles with friends and morning journaling in the park.
I didn’t even think about it until now. How He once told me, when I was flailing in burnout, “I don’t want to fix you. I want to comfort you.”
He speaks now,
I want to comfort you. To bring you comfort. Consolation. To come beside you in your pain. To catch your tears and hold your heart.
You mourn the joy you’ve lost. I mourn with you. You mourn the friends you miss. I mourn with you. You mourn the dream that hasn’t turned into all you’d hoped. I mourn with you.
I want to comfort you. To bring you the comfort of voices joined in worship in your living room and friends who place a hand on your knee, your shoulder, and say “How are you, really?”
My comfort looks like emails from friends that say they miss your sweet a$$. That remind you with Pink’s words that you are F** Perfect.
I want to comfort you. To give you the freedom to mourn. To let the tears fall and know I am with you.
My comfort says. I know. I’m sorry. I feel with you. Lo siento. I feel it.
I see you. I know you. I am here.
I’m learning that comfortable is not so bad. I wanted to break out of my comfort zone. After ten months of uncomfortable, of being whistled at and stared at and feeling like the outsider that I am and missing friends, I no longer view comfort as the enemy.
Comfort is grace.
Comfort says it’s okay to be disappointed. To be angry. To be sad.
Because Comfort shares in the good and the bad.
Comfort says I want to give you life. To walk in your life.
Comfort comes close to the brokenhearted. Comfort draws near to the crushed in spirit.
I’m reading Marilynne Robinson’s book, Gilead, a beautiful narrative of a dying father writing to his son, and gleaning gems of wisdom like these,
“As you read this, I hope you will understand that when I speak of the long night that preceded these days of my happiness, I do not remember grief and loneliness so much as I do peace and comfort—grief, but never without comfort; loneliness, but never without peace. Almost never.”
Today my heart hurts for my friends near and far who are hurting. With their grief, I pray for comfort. With their loneliness, I ask for peace.
For those mourning broken marriages, lost jobs, the death of friends, sickness, and disappointed dreams, bring your comfort and your presence.
I want to pray as the father in Gilead prays,
“And I’d pray for them. And I’d imagine peace they didn’t expect and couldn’t account for descending on their illness and their quarreling or their dreams.”
And so I ask that You would come, Comfort, with a peace we don’t expect and can’t account for. Amen
*Author’s note: I originally started writing this piece in response to Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday prompt on Comfort, but my thoughts seemed too jumbled and scattered to post at the time–even for a free write. And it seems I had more to say than five minutes would warrant anyway.