Many of my friends choose “Star Words” for themselves during Epiphany (which is in January for you non-liturgical readers.) It’s a spiritual practice in which we take a single word printed on a cutout star and it becomes “our word” for the new year. Words like: Strong. Open. Patient. Generous.
The word is supposed to remind us and encourage us and inspire us.
If we had known in January 2020 what we know now, we might have chosen different words. Words like: Protest. Safe. Unmute.
I finally chose my word – 11 months late. It’s Cozy.
Cozy is the lens through which I am going through these days:
- Is this shirt cozy?
- Will this plant make my home cozy?
- What would make this meal cozy?
When TBC was teaching young children in a DC elementary school a few years ago, they were talking about foods people eat in Haiti and it so happened that Haiti had just endured an earthquake. TBC explained to her students what was going on there and one child suggested that they send help to Haitian children. “What should we send?” TBC asked and the student said, “Cozy things.” (They made a quilt of squares designed by the children and sent it to a school.)
Cozy = comfortable and comforting. Cozy means flannel and soup and long hugs.
Feeling cozy is also a privilege that’s not possible for many, many people: prisoners, those living in war zones or on the streets.
Jesus never said we would feel cozy. He actually said the opposite. (“I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”) Ouch.
Peace – with Jesus – is not about personal comfort. It’s about deep confidence in the hope that love will ultimately win. It’s about bringing the reign of God to all people and when God is in charge there is true justice, love, compassion.
Breonna Taylor was cozily sleeping in her own bed. I think about that a lot.
As we watch election returns tonight (and tomorrow and next week — however long it lasts) some of us will be watching from the coziness of our sofas and some will be in very uncomfortable places. But no matter what happens, we are called to share comfort with each other. The comfort of safety. The comfort of full bellies. The comfort of clean living conditions. The comfort of liveable wages.
Cozy is my word, but the point is that it can’t be just for me.