Thursday, October 16, 2008

what does comfort look like?

last night as i went on my evening walk through the neigborhood, crunching my way through the crispy fallen leaves, i was in need of something. it seems rough patches are just that - patches. just spots, moments, days or weeks that don't seem to be going well, and the past few have been that for me. so, as i walked by the light of a bright full harvest moon and breathed in the sweet smell of autumn, i was looking for something to help me through this rough patch.

as i put one foot in front of the other, i didn't know if i needed guidance and direction, or correction and wisdom, or simply to be comforted. i tried to imagine what it would look like for Jesus to be walking with me. after having read The Shack, i was trying to picture how Jesus would look right beside me. what did I need him to be? did I need a wise and correcting father? did I need an open armed loving mother? did I need a silent friend holding my hand?

as i tried to picture what kind of Jesus i needed, it became painfully clear i needed Comfort. not someone to tell me what to do. not someone even to listen and help me process. i didn't need someone to tell me everything would be alright. i just needed Comfort. and i started to cry (once again for the umpteenth time in the past few weeks) because i realized i don't know what Comfort looks like.

i racked my brain for examples of pain and hard times when i had been comforted. and i could think of hard times, but i couldn't picture what Comfort in those times looked like. as i wept i realized 3 things: either i indeed was never comforted, or i was comforted and didn't know it, or someone or something tried to comfort me and i wouldn't allow it.

frankly, i haven't needed a lot of Comfort in my life. for one thing, life has been pretty good to me. for another, i'm a boot-strap girl. when life has gotten me down, i've picked myself up by my bootstraps without spending a lot of time needing Comfort. so, it doesn't surprise me that i couldn't call to mind a visible time that i knew being comforted.

so, what does Comfort look like? is it a hug? someone holding your hand? someone with gentle words? flowers? cards? a warm blanket and a pillow? i have had most of these things and more but have not felt comforted enough by them to remember a time feeling or having known Comfort - why?

and perhaps i surround myself with comfortable things because of the absence of Comfort i feel within. i wear sweats pants and ugg boots. elastic and scratchy fabrics bother me. heels give me blisters. my bed is my favorite place in the world with high thread-count sheets, feather pillows and a down comforter. i eat a lot of comfort foods. ice cream being the most filling. i drive a mini-van, because of its ease with 2 small kids. any free money i have is spent on organizing things because i love being surrounded with order and comfort.

so, is it possible that i have been comforted - but not by a person, a touch, or Spirit, but by things? and is that of my own doing? has Spirit tried to reach me and i've built an untouchable wall?

how fascinating to me that i crave Comfort (i.e. after church on sundays, i run home and take off my heels and tight clothes and put on flannel). but yet, can't think of one time where i have known Comfort.



noelle said...

you wrote: "but i couldn't picture what Comfort in those times looked like. as i wept i realized 3 things: either i indeed was never comforted, or i was comforted and didn't know it, or someone or something tried to comfort me and i wouldn't allow it."

That really resonates with me. I know that I am really comfortable being the caretaker in many relationships, but it's hard for me to show my vulnerability and allow myself to be comforted, too. Even in my most intimate of relationships, I find it really hard to reach out and say that I am having a hard time, that I need something, anything at all from someone else. I guess in those times I really do tend to pray a lot. A lot of just brokenhearted, sad and desperate prayers. I long for company in my sorrow, but I am too, I don't know, maybe just ashamed to ask for it.

Why is it so much easier for me to pour out my heart here on YOUR blog than anywhere else?! lol Thanks for the opportunity to share.

JC said...

Oh K, my heart hurts for you because I know what you are feeling, and I have totally been there too. When I have been, and still have those times like you are now, the comfort and peace I found was in those who also shared that I was not any different than others. Only by sharing my pain and surrounding myself with people who are honest and free with their shortcomings (Christians have problems?!, who knew?) did I not feel like a drifting boat, all alone, with no way to shore. I only needed to know that others don't have it all together either.
Love you,admire you, you are amazing, JC