I’ve been thinking a lot lately about comfort. There are certainly creature comforts: a plush cushy bed or a soft sweater on a cold day. But I’ve found myself wondering more about the actual giving and receiving of emotional comfort. I’ve been pondering all of this because our family recently suffered a terrible loss: the sudden death of a dear friend. At the times when we need it most, how do we support and care for each other? What comforts do we seek?
I recently read a lovely post by one of my favorite sources of inspiration, Tonya Sheridan, entitled: "Would You Care to Join Me for a Cup of Tea?" Tonya beautifully describes the act of making tea and the power of a simple gesture. I appreciate these particular words of wisdom from her: The ritual of putting on the kettle, pouring the tea, and sipping the comforting liquid creates an inner calm that helps me to see life from a different perspective.
For many of us, foods and the memories associated with those foods often bring comfort. My own oddball comfort foods include:
- Potato salad with no eggs (because that’s how my Mom always makes it special just for me);
- Barbecued Fritos (because I only allow myself to indulge when I’m really down or on a road trip); and,
- Salmon loaf, which was one of my Grandmother’s favorite things to make (even if most of the family didn’t like it).
There is also one very special comforting symbol that seems to manifest in my life at just the right moments: the bicentennial quarter.
My Grumps left this world in June 1976. He just missed the 200th celebration of our independence. I don’t know exactly when, but somewhere along my path I started to collect bicentennial quarters because they always remind me of my Grumps and what a wonderful, loving presence he was in my life. These quarters have become increasingly scarce as the years have gone by; finding one now is always a surprise and comfort.
Two weeks ago I was trying in every way to provide encouragement and assistance to the family of the dear friend we had lost. As friends, family, and neighbors gathered at their home to offer help, I volunteered to make a lunch run for sandwiches and sodas. I placed the order and as I waited my mind wandered over the sadness of our loss of such a special person. As I absentmindedly paid for the sandwiches, there in the change being handed to me across the counter was a worn bicentennial quarter. It had been at least a year since I had seen one in circulation. In that unforeseen moment, as I stared at the cashier’s out-stretched hand, I was comforted by this tiny sign from the universe.
Our comforts may come to us in unexpected ways: a bag of Fritos, a cup of tea, or a small worn quarter. Do you have a source of support that holds you up when you need a little reassurance? Well, if you ever need to borrow a quarter, just let me know.