[Note: The trafficking of Korean, Chinese, Filipino and other women called “Comfort Women” was a heinous act committed by the Japanese military during WWII. I refuse to let this hijack the word comfort so I’m reclaiming the word for this post on Comfort People.]
Just as there is comfort food we are lavishly consuming during this pandemic, there are people in the world who automatically bring us comfort. Merely the presence of some people – even on Zoom – has a calming effect.
Just as different people are comforted by different kinds of foods, we are individually comforted by different kinds of people. I have a friend known for her creative snarkitude and yet I am thoroughly comforted by her photos and tweets. She probably ticks off a lot of people but I feel peace in her presence.
The opposite of Comfort People might just be Toxic People and I wonder if they know who they are. Maybe I am toxic to some folks. I hope not, but if I am, it’s okay not to hang out with me or return my calls.
Toxic people – if I can be so bold – are exhausting. They suck the life out of you with no self-awareness. They (we?) never ask “How are you doing?” Or maybe they ask and don’t seem to pay attention to the answer.
Enough about toxicity. Let’s get back to comfort.
Comfort people bring relief without saying or doing much. It’s who they are. Their very presence is soothing.
I believe Jesus could be a demanding friend, but that doesn’t exempt him from also being a comforting presence. Some of my most demanding friends are comforting because they are demanding. (You will get past this. You’ve got this. Get out there and show the world that you can kick some toxicity @^*.)
I am blessed with lots of people who bring comfort into my life by their mere presence. On the Zoom calls I find that some faces bring me deep joy. I miss seeing them up close and personal.
As many of us are reaching our limits in terms of Zoom calls and working from home and wearing masks in public and craving food from restaurants not doing take out and wondering how much longer we can look presentable without a haircut, consider asking yourself this:
Am I toxic person? Am I am comfort person? What can I do to focus more on the needs of others and stop feeling sorry for myself?
Whether quarantines will soon be lifted or not, we owe it to each other and to our Maker do try to bring more comfort into this world. The suffering in this pandemic is uneven. How can we support those who are suffering the most?
Image of people who bring immediate comfort to me: John Lewis, Atticus Finch, Thelma Adair, Mr. Rogers, Mom. I was on a Zoom Call with Dr. Adair last week and my heart is still rejoicing. She will be 100 years old this August.