Comfort . . . AND Joy

on March 11, 2011

A few months ago I went to the funeral of the daughter of one my friends.  She was not quite 2 years old when she died and her last year of life was spend almost exclusively in the hospital.  Her father spoke at the funeral — and he shared some of the things that he had learned from his perfect little daughter.  The first thing he said that he learned from her was to have “objects of comfort”.   He explained that in the last year she had been poked and prodded so many times that the little alcohol pads or as she called them, her “wipies” were something she held on to for comfort.  When they dried out – she wanted another one to hold.  He recommended that we also should have items of comfort for those times when we just need something to hold on to.

I have thought about this over and over.   As we grow up we are to leave our “blankies” and “binkies” behind and be mature.  But honestly — in our efforts to let them go we often just deny our need to be comforted.  We become ashamed of that need and then mindlessly try to fill it in ways that aren’t helpful.  I turned to food – all the while still not admitting that my heart just needed to be calmed and held.  That admission was just so — well — weak and vulnerable.  And I can’t deny that food can be temporarily comforting (and if you don’t believe me – then call me and we can chat because you obviously don’t know where to buy chocolate.)

Just days before the funeral I was telling my dietitian that I seem to always struggle with emotional eating on Wednesday nights when I come home from serving in the temple.  It was frustrating because I always have a good experience and I love doing it.  But if I’m absolutely honest with myself — I think the fact that I then leave and drive home alone makes me a little sad.  My dietitian asked if I thought about just getting a blanket and holding it for awhile.  I thought it was odd — and I wanted to say “um – you do know I’m over 40 right”? But I didn’t tell her that and instead gave some polite comment that I don’t remember.

But then as I listened to this father talk about his little girls “wipies’ I realized the he was right – and so was my dietitian.  There really is nothing wrong with having “objects of comfort”, and it may be exactly what I need.   So what did I do?  I bought a soft fleece blanket.  Okay okay — it has arm holes and some may call it a “snuggie” (don’t judge me.)  Sometimes I wrap it around me and sometimes I just lay down and close my eyes and hold it like I did for few minutes tonight when I came home from work exhausted.  It IS comforting!  It’s actually more comforting than a bowl of ice cream.

I’m not suggesting that we all turn into Linus and start dragging around our blankets.  For me — I think part of the power is in admitting what feeling is actually going on in my little soul.  Then accepting that it’s valid and then reaching out for something that will actually give comfort and warmth instead of distraction.

I am realizing that I have many “objects of comfort”.  I have two other lap-quilts on my bed – both made by dear friends.  I use one of them when I take Sunday nap.  I think of the work my friends put in to them and I feel loved.  Also, in my room I have an old metal wash tub that was my grandmother’s.  She used it to wash my grandfathers railroad work clothes — letting them boil on an old stove.  it’s just decoration now – but i can’t part with it.  When I look at it it reminds me of my grandma and what she did for those she loved.  My scriptures are also my objects of comfort.  So many words written so long ago that are just for me.  How often I open them am wonder how the Lord would know I needed at that very moment the words printed on those pages.

Oh the comfort!  Oh the Joy!

What are your objects of comfort?




One response to “Comfort . . . AND Joy

  1. Laurel says:

    i LOVE this. And maybe part of my problem is that I can’t answer the question you posed at the end.

    I need to figure that out.

    thanks, you!

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