Saturday, August 1

seeking comfort

In our house, talks of Fall, pumpkin everything, college football, and cozy blankets and sweaters are on the rise.  I even purchased a new fall jacket today...on August 1st.  Our home really does flourish in the Fall--we celebrate an anniversary, a puppy birthday.  We run to Dunkin' Donuts for Punkin' Donuts every brisk Saturday (thank you, Counselor), and stop by for the occasional Pumpkin Spice Latte.  We join in pursuit for corn mazes and picking fields, the best fall colors, and we cozy up with cocoa, popcorn, and Scrabble.  I say we in the all-inclusive sense--the dogs are finally cool and back to their bouncy selves and we rejoin the world as a team of five, once again.  Fall is just our absolute favorite.

Then, today we met Alex's cousin before she leaves for her journey to Boston, where she'll play basketball, attend college, visit New York City, and explore all that is New England.  In the Fall, no less.  I can see the excitement in her eyes, that 18-year-old sense of adventure, mixed with a tinge of fear.  Her voice sounds of unrelenting expectation of all the world could be, how big it still is, how much new-ness there is out there.  I hold nothing back in expressing my jealousy.

Later, Alex asks if it's about her being young, having a new, great adventure before her, and the uprising feeling of independence.  He knows me well, has heard the stories about my first apartment, exploring the city, living in a different state, seeing the East Coast and ocean for the first time.  But, that isn't it.  I do a little inner-inventory and realize I'm looking for more.  I've been to the Boston airport and loved it.  I've heard many a story about the old buildings, the harbors and boats, the pubs and sports fanatics.  Yes, I am jealous of the exploration of that city and being in New England this fall.

But it's more than that.  I think what I'm looking for is comfort.  The kind of comfort that comes with fall, when long pants are tucked in boots like small children tucked under covers.  Sweaters and scarves enveloping the shoulders and arms like newborns being swaddled.  I'm looking for the joy of hot coffee when it is no longer hot outside, warming the tongue, trickling down your throat, into the  chest cavity and stomach.  I'm seeking the cool air that is toasted by the sun, like a gentle kiss on the cheek.  I'm looking for coziness, for warmth, for a little peace.

And I won't find it there.  Not on the calendar when it says October, not in the change of the air and the leaves.  I won't find it in Boston, in a land that seems far, far away, nestled in the goodness of year-long Autumn.  What I'm looking for won't come this season or the next, won't come next year after graduation, with a job offer or a move.

Comfort certainly comes in little moments and whispering thoughts.  I have a wonderful home, an unstinting family, and a life that continues to surprise.  I have lots of small and big things which bring comfort, help me to feel coziness.  But in this life, they just don't last.  The comfort I'm seeking won't come from down here.

"The man comes near Jesus—but not too near. What does Jesus do? He reaches out and touches him. Jesus doesn’t need to come in contact with the man in order to 
heal him. There are many accounts where all he does is say the word and people are healed, even people a county away. Yet he touches him. Why?! Because this is the one thing the man needs. No one has touched him for a very long time."

I'm looking for a touch, for a healing that doesn't come in beautiful cities or perfect seasons.  I'm looking for the one thing that comforts not my arms and legs, not my growling stomach, or whirling mind, I'm looking for a touch that comforts my heart.

Beautiful Outlaw, John Eldredge:

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