Posted by: lolalately | September 15, 2012

Taking comfort where we find it

One of the commenter’s on my “Floating” post used the word “comfort” in her comments, and it got me thinking about what comfort is to me, and where I find it in this harried and often hurting life.

As I went about my chores yesterday, folding laundry, dusting tables, filling the dishwasher, I paused to watch my cats. I suppose I could become one of “those” women with lots of cats, but I actually do know my limits and my limit is four. At a time. All four are adopted; two from the local Humane Society, one from someone we know who lost their job and home, and one was simply dumped in our garden just a few weeks old. Even the neighbors know I am the one who won’t turn her back on a stray. I find great comfort in my cats. Their silly antics, their rivalries, their vying for my attention – especially when the treat jar comes out. When I’m sick, it’s my cats who surround me and watch over me. When I’m emotional, it’s my cats that seek me out and curl into me purring, as if to remind me that life goes on. They are a source of great amusement and great comfort, not to mention that I’ve been told that petting a cat can lower ones blood pressure. So they’re healthy too!

For most of my life books have been a comfort to me. As a child of abuse, I often grabbed a book as I fled from my abuser to hide in my bedroom closet or under my bed. That book wasn’t a weapon, it was a tool by which I mentally escaped from my life. Books swept me up into the mountains of Switzerland and over sand dunes into the wilds of Africa. Books introduced me to the characters who would become my friends, my confidants, my loyal sidekicks through the treacherous days of my childhood. As long as I could escape into the pages and wild bramble of Frances Hodges Burnet’s Secret Garden, my abuser could not harm me. I was safe and comforted in the pages of a book. Today, in my mid-50’s I still find great comfort between the covers of books. I become absorbed in the story, enmeshed in the lives playing out on the pages. Though I have an e-reader, a welcome gift years ago, I still love the feeling of a hardbound book in my hands, the smell of the pages comfort me in a way that even a mug of steaming hot chocolate cannot.

Some people in my life are a chore, some a comfort. One dear friend in particular almost always knows the right thing to say to comfort me, and often without my having to say a single word. Her experiences with marital betrayal have paved the way for me to understand many of my own trials with betrayal. And her words of encouragement have been a balm for my aching heart, soothing and reassuring and yes, comforting.

Comfort comes in so many sizes and shapes and colors. Comfort may be one’s bed, an old blanket, a cherished memory of a loved one long gone from this earth. Comfort for you might be watching a child sleeping peacefully in a house filled with strife, or it could be that dog at your feet when you finally sit down at the end of a busy day.

Someone may ask; “what about your marriage, do you not find comfort there”? I do, but not in the ways I thought I would or could. My husband and I have our moments, times when we’re connected, playing on the same team, communicating openly and honestly, and in those moments I do take comfort in my marriage. But as I’ve said in a previous post, I live in a house that is not my home, filled with memories that are not my own. I find no comfort in this house, and that affects my marriage as much as his behavior does.

Instead, I seek my comfort where I can find it, where I know there are no strings attached, where I know I don’t have to keep earning it again and again. It is of great comfort to be able to share my thoughts in this blog, and to know that someone may read my writing, and my words just might resonate with them. We must all take comfort wherever we can find it. Life is short, and to have to waste precious minutes searching for comfort seems almost criminal. Look around you, where do you take comfort? Mine just curled up beside me here on the sofa and is purring away. Have a comforting day my friends.

~ Lola

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