by Greg Hermann
“Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.”
Isaiah, 40:1 (Christian Old Testament)
I am sensing a deeper urgency this year than any in my past. The urgency is born of a deeper awareness of our need for comfort, and to comfort. I am also deepening my definition of ‘comfort’. The depth is born of an empathy that is new to me. So, I am sitting here sorting out the source of this new definition, these new experiences of empathy.
I know the statistics about the increase in the stresses brought on by holidays like Christmas. This year, unlike others, the gifting process is clouded by the realities of our collective suffering. We have a stress filled political atmosphere. We have acts of violence in our neighborhoods. We have personal relationships with dear friends who are healing from traumas and addictions.
Those of us in recovery from traumas of abuse, addiction, loss, etc, recognize the “band aide” effect of the gifts of the season. This year, unlike others, I am more aware of our discomforts rather than comfort and joy.
Many of us turn to isolation in these times of intense discomfort – fear, insecurity, loneliness – even though we know the distructive nature of isolation. We search for those whom we can trust. I have to accept that my usual thoughts or words to “Trust in God” fall on ears of broken trust. The addictive, traumatic mind set does not offer strong experiences of trust. Yes, we have often destroyed trusting relationships. Now, in efforts to build trust, we confront our histories of broken relationships.
So, here I sit wondering: Comfort?
My deepest comfort comes from those who take the responsibilities of being the faces, hands, ears, and hugs of our Higher Power. This puts skin to the words “Trust in God”. This puts your faces, hands, ears and hugs into my reality of God. This also offers a terrifying risk to those who are new to your faces, hands, ears and hugs. Many are not willing to take the risk to accept the comfort you offer.
To those struggling with this risk, I take this time, and each moment of my awareness, to extend the deepest energy of the Love my God has given. I extend, not my energy, but the energy – love – of the God beyond my understanding. I offer the grace and peace that is totally free, unconditional, and mysteriously real and powerful. So I will do my best to allow God to make me an instrument of peace and comfort.
I can make this offer because I know the peace and comfort you have given me. This is the hope of our active and committed relationships. We aren’t perfect, but we are able to celebrate our mistakes and we grow together in an atmosphere of forgiveness, encouragement and hope.
I am eternally grateful for the comfort you have given me.
I am eternally hopeful for those struggling to take the risk to reach out to us.
We are the source of God’s comfort.