I wonder about the title of Rabbi Harold Kushner's book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People". I read the book a long time ago and from what I remember God does not really have a hand in causing human suffering. I also remember that I found Kushner's writing full of solace.
And since life seems to intrude on inner peace with uncanny regularity, a friend gave me a small book of the 23rd Psalm, illustrated by Tasha Tudor that I now keep it in my handbag. It is a little talisman of hope for an uncertain place called earth. As well, my bedroom is an oasis of calm and tranquility. I always feel better when I am surrounded by my favorite things. Perfume comforts me, especially if I associate the scent with a happy memory. Writing puts things into perspective and soothes me with my own voice. I light candles against the darkness both literally and metaphorically. To illuminate the night, even with a penny candle or a gracious courtesy is to open a space for faith and better times.
Frivolous though it may seem, style makes me feel safe. If I can get up and clean my hair and face, put on lipstick, I feel I can help someone else too. Many famous women have used personal style to overcome tragedy and heartbreak. I don't see anything wrong with that. A sense of self makes us stronger and more able to bring about change. I also recommend soup, teddy bears, blankets, cat's silky ears, or church if you are so inclined. What other things can comfort us in a scary world? Here are three more simple suggestions:
~Children's picture books - if you had a favorite as a child, keep it close to your bed. Especially helpful if you wake up in the middle of the night with unspoken fears.
~Music - when I youtube old favorites from past days, my heart lightens. It makes me grab hold of my younger self for strength. I remember who I use to be and somehow I am able to carry on with "her" as inspiration.
~Baths - I often wonder if they are so cathartic because at one time, we were all enveloped in a warm comforting wet world for nine months. A soothing hot bath with bubbles and scent and some time to quietly think can help you envision solutions to problems or bring you back to your set-point.
At times the world seems full of sadness and chaos and we are overwhelmed with our personal problems and tragedies. We grieve and rejoice in turns. I went to Ann Curry's website and made a small donation to her African charity fund. I don't know if it will directly help the little eight year old who lost her mother. I know that I will keep myself comforted as best I can while I join my prayer with hers for safety and healing...
(Credit: Florence Harrison/A Falling Star)