Monday, November 12, 2018

A Moment For Comfort On A Monday

anita austvika | unsplash.com

Grant me, Oh Lord, a sunny mind—

~Emily Dickinson
a line from her poem, Besides the Autumn Poets Sing


When I listen to the news of these past few days, clouds threaten to cover any sunny spots I might have in my mind. Fires, shootings, even a homemade bomb going off in our local library parkade this past week -- strange goings on seem to be everywhere. It's a world gone mad, and we wonder how to carry on, and our hearts ache for those whose lives are devastated and changed forever.

For today, I am well. My family is well. We are all reasonably happy and at peace going about the business of living our lives. Sometimes I think to myself, selfishly, what if I could just enclose myself in my own little world and shut myself off from the pain out there. Then maybe we'd get through it. But, of course, we can't disappear down our own rabbit holes and hope for things to go away -- we need each other to help share the load. Sometimes we're the ones with the bad stuff, other times it's happening to someone else. It makes me glad we're not alone -- as humans, we are in it together, and together, we can garner some measure of comfort.

"To console does not mean to take away the pain but rather to be there
and say, 'You are not alone, I am with you. Together we can carry
the burden. Don't be afraid. I am here.' That is consolation.
We all need to give it as well as to receive it."

~ Henri Nouwen


photo: pixabay.com

So, what do we do on a Monday morning? For many of us, including myself, life carries on with the usual routines, including various pleasant pursuits even. I sit here at my desk where I hear the chatter of the birds and am so glad that they keep singing regardless of what is going on. Maybe they are God's little messengers of hope that all is not lost.

Did you happen to see that poignant recording that came out over Remembrance Day weekend? They reveal that moment where the guns were stilled on November 11, 1918 and WWI was over. In that moment of silence after the deafening roar of guns and bombs, near the end of that beautiful sixty seconds of silence came a sweet, sweet sound -- the birds started singing. Amazing. Marvellous. I played it over and over just to hear that last bit again.





So we must keep the faith. We must share the light and pass along the antidote (other antidote thoughts in an earlier POST). Who knows, perhaps in some future decade or century someone will be reading the comforting words you have composed today for someone in a note, blog post, or book. And, there in that future place a woman will sit with that book or 'famous' quote in her lap, reading it aloud so her heart can hear the words, ever grateful they were preserved over the decades and could bring fresh comfort to her then and there.

I get a shiver up and down my spine to even imagine it!


annie spratt | unsplash.com

While thinking about what I wanted to share today, I realized that, first of all, I wanted to invite you to visit Sandra @ Where Inspiration Blooms, to take joy in one particular POST from a few weeks ago. Sandra is a very special online friend, a light in a dark world, and she offers her posts each week with the hope that her words will cheer, console, and gently challenge readers to keep looking for the good and beautiful in this world. I've been cheered more than once from her gracious writing.

If you do find yourself fretting or looking at this coming week with any anxiousness, let me share a word that I have often found a comfort in troubled times. These words that have come down through the centuries offer the same solace they offered past generations. It's encouraging to me, personally, to hear about people who lived through their own dark times and are still able to write down such hopeful thoughts. Surely then it's also possible for me, for us, in our world today to take heart ... and carry on.
"Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or God will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations."
~ St. Francis de Sales (1567 - 1622)

Recently my dear niece was feeling the pressure of her studies at college -- it all seemed overwhelming. Even though my own college days are ancient history now, I vividly remember that angst of studies and homework piling up, wondering how on God's green earth I was ever going to get through it all. Thinking about what I could offer that might give her courage, I was suddenly reminded of something attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt (she'd certainly gone through her share of hardships). It's a quote that has been pinned to my bulletin board for decades now. I quickly texted Becca the words, and a moment later I heard the familiar ping, her reply telling me that those words meant more to her than I'd ever know...
"Every time you meet a situation, though you think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you were before."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt, former US First Lady

There are those who are grieving for something. A loss of a loved one or something precious to them, like their home or job or health. I am always drawn to these words that were spoken to the grieving widower, Oscar Blundell, in Rosamunde Pilcher's well-loved novel Winter Solstice. Sometimes words aren't enough to help someone through the grief, but once in a while they make it bearable for the moment. That's exactly what Oscar found when his friend tried to comfort him with these words:
"Life is sweet. Beyond the pain, life continues to be sweet. The basics are still there. Beauty, food, and friendship, reservoirs of love and understanding. Later, possibly not yet, you are going to need others who will encourage you to make new beginnings. Welcome them. They will help you move on, to cherish happy memories and confront the painful ones with more than bitterness and anger."

paola nicolello |unsplash.com

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.
Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever,
even if your whole world seems upset.
St. Francis de Sales

I'm leaving you with these last words, also by St. Francis de Sales. It's my heart prayer that you will experience a peace of mind and heart no matter what's going on this week. I'm also wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places. And don't forget to listen for the birds.

With love and a gentle kiss atop thy head,
Brenda



14 comments:

  1. Your usual wise and lovely post Brenda. Thank you for those beautiful quotes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Brenda - what a beautiful post to greet me this Monday morning. Let us all pray for a better world and a peaceful week. I, too, take comfort in words which have been written by marvelously talented souls, knowing their world was far from perfect and they also had struggles. However, I do not know where myself and other like-minded souls would be without the comfort we find in each other. Especially talented souls such as yourself, who offer such peace and comfort and where visiting your blog is such an inspiring place.

    Thank you for your beautiful thoughts,quotes, and scattering joy. Also, for your kindness in mentioning my blog in your post.
    Wishing you a lovely week. Blessings, dear friend.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a beautiful post that I will go back and read again. The perfect way to start the day. I've learned...in my long life....getting out in nature helps soothe my soul. I don't get in much of a hurry any more. Hugs, Diane

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read the post you mentioned...Sunday Thoughts but she is google + only so I couldn't comment. It was very uplifting and inspiring!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes,glimpses of heaven in unexpected places.That is what I look for.Some days they are easier to see than others. Thanks for being an encourager.

    ReplyDelete
  6. we all need hopeful words and to reach out and comfort others as we all have trials and challenges...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Here I am back again with time to read thoughtfully and to comment. This was beautifully written and soothing, supportive and, yes, I felt that you were “with me.”

    ReplyDelete
  8. Brenda dear thank you for your sweet post that uplifts us all and brings the fragrance of encouragement. In this world our Lord Jesus said we would have trouble but take heart (be of good courage) - I have overcome the world. May you be blessed as well with the peace and joy you bring to us your fellow bloggers. Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a lovely post, Brenda. Not losing our inner peace is imperative but oh boy, it's hard sometime, isn't it? Brenda, thank you SO MUCH for your visits and comments. They mean so much to me. Susan

    ReplyDelete
  10. I hadn't heard that clip before. It is very moving, especially when the birdsong replaces the gunfire.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Beautiful sentiments and oh so meaningful quotes. There is still a lot of good left in the world, we just need to see IT rather than all the bad.

    ReplyDelete
  12. That quote at the end by St. Francis de Sales is absolutely perfect. Such comforting words!

    ReplyDelete

To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....