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Word of the Day: Comfort

Updated on June 23, 2015

Comfort has come to my attention today. It called to me like a child calling to their mother from the swing in the playground. It spoke softly but clearly and said to me – “think about it”.


So, here I am, thinking about the word “comfort” and sharing the thoughts. These are not arbitrary events in my life. In truth, they are my teachers. They occur randomly and without warning. I have grown to appreciate them and to look forward to the lessons they bring.

Comfort Calls

I had no plan for today. After a very hectic week in which I felt stretched a bit too thin and forced to deal with a variety of emotions, I had declared that today I would set no alarm. I would sleep until my body was rested and my spirit renewed. The morning sun woke me gently, and I lingered in the bed for a bit knowing I had no schedule to keep. What a treat this was: a selfish indulgence of guilty pleasure.


The smell of freshly brewed coffee reached my senses and after a few stretches and yawns, headed for the kitchen. As I poured that first cup of my favorite steamy hazelnut flavored liquid, the word for this day spoke to me – comfort. Ah yes, comfort. This lazy, self indulgent morning is pure comfort.


Normally, I would head for the dictionary to explore the meaning of the word but not today. First, I wanted to explore what the word meant to me. It was my lesson after all. I sat down with that cup of coffee and began to list the thoughts that the word comfort had generated in my mind. The list looked something like this:

  • A warm bed on a chilly morning.
  • Sunshine streaming through clean windows.
  • Faded, baggy blue jeans and a sweatshirt.
  • A pet who loves you in spite of yourself.
  • Being old enough to not care if you fit “in” anymore.
  • Looking in the mirror and seeing the graying hair and faint wrinkles as trophies.
  • Having a trusted friend call just to say hello.
  • Rain falling gently on the roof.
  • Bare feet on grass or mud.
  • Looking to the mountains and feeling at home.
  • Paying the bills and having a wee bit left over.
  • Calling home and hearing that family is safe and happy.
  • Understanding that I am a tiny part of a big universe.
  • Sitting by the fire and listening to the song of the burning logs.
  • Feeling the presence of God in every day.
  • Listening to music that speaks to the heart.
  • Finding the first daffodil of Spring.
  • Feeling satisfied with what I have and what I have accomplished.
  • Asking myself what I would buy if I had the money and finding the answer is – nothing.

My list could go on and on because as I have aged, my needs have been simplified and my wants all but eliminated. I am satisfied with what I have. I am healthy and even though my vision has diminished from macular degeneration, I still see beauty in all things. There is beauty in nature and in the generous and kind spirit of the people I know. With age I have learned to appreciate the value of a few good friends and I don’t care about winning popularity contests. The years of defining my career or climbing corporate ladders are behind me and now I am content with just getting a paycheck that pays the bills. I am content and, I have found comfort in my life. And there it is – the word for this day – comfort.

The Official Definition of Comfort

Now, I can turn to the dictionary and see what Merriam Webster says about this word of the day. Without copying the text, let me just say that Merriam Webster defines the trasitive verb "comfort" as giving strength and comfort or, easing the grief of trouble of.


When used as a noun, Merriam Webster defines "comfort" as strengthening aid or assistance, consolation in time of trouble or worry, a feeling of relief or encouragement, and contented well-being.


After reading the definition from Merriam Webster, I am reminded that like all good things in life, we cannot truly appreciate them until they are shared. The riches in this life are not ours to keep. They mean nothing until we have offered comfort to those around us.

My thoughts after the official definition

With the reading of the definition, I feel enlightened. Comfort is not about me. It is not about laying in bed too long or the guilty pleasure of a second cup of coffee. Comfort comes when we are satisfied with what we are contributing to others. Comfort comes from giving.

We all need someone that we can be our best and worst self with without the fear of judgment or criticism. Comfort can be found in the simple touch of a hand. Comfort can be found in a moment; the moment when a friend hears bad news and needs a steadying hand on their shoulder. A neighbor who has experienced great loss may find comfort in our presence when the nights are long and they are afraid to cry alone. The comfort of a hug may open the door to release the emotions locked away by a victim of childhood abuse or a woman who has been battered by an abusive spouse. Sitting by the bedside of an elder while they recall memories of the past may bring comfort as they stare into the unknown of their final days.

The Blessing and Comfort of a Friend

Thoughts continue...

Perhaps it is the comfort of more material things that we must share before we can fully appreciate the comfort in our own life. Unless we have been homeless and hungry we cannot fully appreciate the comfort of a free meal at a soup kitchen served by loving volunteers. Unless we have been alone and lonely we cannot appreciate the comfort in an offer of a ride to church for the widowed gentleman who no longer drives. Until we have been the kid of a single parent we cannot know the comfort of getting to play sports because another parent offered to pay the fees.


Until we have found the comfort of having a trusted friend with whom we can be our true selves, we cannot be that friend for another. This is the circle of life; that what we enjoy we must share. The true riches of life are not possessions. They are lessons and once learned, become more valuable only when they are shared.

The Lesson in the Word

I awoke today with the word “comfort” on my mind. As I took a look at the things that bring me comfort each day, I was reminded that around the world there are others who will never know the simple pleasure of waking in a warm bed or enjoying the aroma and taste of a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee. All around the world there are those that will never experience a hot meal or have the time to appreciate a sunrise. They do not have the luxury of listening to the birds sing their morning songs or the freedom to bask in the warm rays of the sun. Around the world there are millions who do not know the fate of their loved ones and, those that are dying alone in the dark. Today, somewhere in the world, a disaster will occur and access to clean water or shelter will become a thing of the past for an entire community. Today, in millions of places around the world, a doctor will tell someone that they have cancer and that there is no cure. In cities across the world, someone will die today, the innocent victim of a drunk driver. Others will be beaten by a thief who needs money for drugs. For those, there is no comfort in this day.


Should I feel guilty for the comfort of my own life? The answer is part of my lesson. Having spent the morning opening my heart and mind to the true meaning of the word - comfort, I have come to this understanding. If I have not provided comfort to others, then yes, I should feel guilty for the comfort in my life. The choice is mine. I can do something today to bring comfort to someone else and eliminate the guilt or I can remain in this place of comfort that greeted me this morning and do nothing. I don’t think I’ll risk it. I think I'll find something to do today.

© 2013 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.

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  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    lmpounds - thanks so much for the visit. I appreciate your comment. It seems you too have found words to be great teachers and that is a gift.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Shauna, thanks for always encouraging and supporting my little ol' heart. I really am blessed by your friendship.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Leslie, you are a bright star in my universe of friends who bring me comfort. You are there with your bigger than life attitude when I need it and always a reminder for me to seize the day. :-)

  • lmpounds profile image

    Lauren 4 years ago from St. Louis

    Loved this. Words do often stick out and bring us thoughts that are unexpected yet beautiful.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, I feel your heart and I feel your guilt in the comforts you have that others may not. But you can't be there for all. You have earned your comfort and you should enjoy it when you allow it to actually penetrate your thoughts. You're a giver for sure. Sometimes you need to give to yourself, too.

  • ImKarn23 profile image

    Karen Silverman 4 years ago

    Just reading your wise and insightful words gives me comfort, my sweet and caring friend!

    If we cannot give ourselves comfort - what good are we to others? Enjoy the lazy day and the second cuppa - YOU deserve it - as do so many who do not have the ability to indulge!

    Do it FOR them - and then - do something else FOR them - something constructive - such as offering your amazingly compassionate and positive outlook for the world to read!

    on that note - sharing on..

    Carpe Diem, my friend!

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Gypsy, isn't that a wonderful feeling - when you are comfortable in your own skin? I love this time in my life because it is so much more simple than when I was struggling to keep up with the crowd or to compete in the work place. Thanks for reading this one and sharing it. I wish you a beautiful day!

  • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

    Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

    Voted up. Wonderful and comforting thoughts. I agree with your list as it is at the moment of course lots of other things could be added. My best days are the ones when I am just comfortable being me. Passing this on.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks torrilynn. I'm happy to see you again.

  • torrilynn profile image

    torrilynn 4 years ago

    Irc7815,

    thanks for sharing this comfort is such a beautiful thing

    and im glad to have learned what it has taught you

    Voted up

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Dear Cyndi10 - your comment has given me the warm fuzzies. Thank you so much. People like you who are so generous give my life tremendous comfort.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hey pickles! You are very wise! I'm glad you enjoyed this. I did spent quite a bit of time thinking about all the many aspects of the word 'comfort' and I learned many things about myself and life. I treasure these unexpected lessons. Thank you for the compliment.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Rolly. Thanks for stopping by today and if you found a bit of comfort here, then I have done what I intended. And, I am happy. Hugs back at ya my new friend.

  • Cyndi10 profile image

    Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

    Excellent writing. There is comfort in knowing there are people like you who write so beautifully, sharing your thoughts and your feelings. It's also a comfort to know there are individuals like you who can appreciate so much of what you have.

    Take care!

  • picklesandrufus profile image

    picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

    I thank God every day for my comforts. You really thought through this hub and it shows. Nice work!

  • Rolly A Chabot profile image

    Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

    Hi lrc7815... comfort comes from reading words of another on a chilly day here in Alberta. The reminder of all the things that bring us comfort are good for the soul... Thank you

    Hugs from Canada

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Sid, I love the teaching you have shared. Thank you so very much. I am copying and posting it on my "vision of a better world" board that I look at so often. Your comment has warmed my heart this day and left me in the comfort of a sense of accomplishment. Thank you!

  • SidKemp profile image

    Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

    Thank you for sharing comfort with all of us. Shared! There is a teaching that says that we can dwell in peace, and "offer joy to one person in the morning and help relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon." You are doing that - and so much more - by bringing comfort into our lives through your own.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    MH, you are always far too generous in your compliments but I do appreciate them. I think age brings us to a place where the wisdom of our parents, grandaprents, and mentors begin to make more sense than in our yout. Then, we become a vessel for there voices. If I have any wisdom whatsoever, it is by the grace of God and the wonderful people who have inspired me. I take no credit. Have you ever told the story of your illness? I think you might be surprised at what (wisdom) you have inside you, in addition to amazing poetry and too funny limericks.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    My friend, treasure in your own words. I have and more. Hence, though I miss the taste of warm coffee (and so much of life), I am grateful that I had some of the finest and knew it. You have so many wise words.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi kellyteam. Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate your compliment as well as the vote and share.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Eric, you indeed bring very meaningful concepts to this dialogue on comfort. Certainly a good shepherd would use his staff to control his sheep but a great shepherd would use a dog rather than the harsh beating with the staff. lol

  • kellyteam profile image

    Willette 4 years ago from Michigan

    This is a beautiful, beautiful hub. I heard the message of Jesus in your words. After all his message is one of others and not self. We should be trying to do something to bring comfort to others, if and when we can. Sometimes just a smile will do. Its the little things that can matter so much. thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts with us. Thumbs up awesome beautiful and a share.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Allow me to set forth a idea as a minister/pastor.

    Can you even imagine that the large crooked staff that is so often shown in our idea of the biblical Rod is what was called a comforter.

    A good Shepard would use it in harshness to control his sheep.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Bill, my special friend, you are too good to me. I am humbled that you made an exception to read a rather ordinary piece of writing. This one was written as much for me as anyone else. As I said to Carol, sometimes we have to stop and replenish ourselves if we are to have anything to give to others. This was my day and now I am ready for the world again. I''m glad you and Bev took some time off today too and that you had some comfort to share. Life is good, huh?

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Carol. I could have gone on for days about the things that provide me with comfort but it's interesting how even I forget what they are until I actually take the time to enjoy them. I needed a lazy day so badly and it was just perfect for adjusting my attitude. It is a great reminder too that sometimes we have to stop and refill before we have anything left to give. Thanks for the visit and the votes and sharing too.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Jackie. I'm all too afraid that there are plenty who are more than comfortable and do not share, many who walk around with blinders on and do not see the pain and suffering of others. And, there are just as many who have all the comfort one could want an do not appreciate. Thankfully, there ARE many who share the bounty and that is what keeps me hopeful Jackie.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I wasn't going to read hubs today, Kindred, but for you I'll make an exception. It has been a day filled with comfort for me and we even managed to give comfort to someone else along the way. Enjoy your evening. Your thoughts on comfort were beautifully written my friend.

    hugs and love,

    bill

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

    You have found so many things that bring you comfort..that alone is a blessing in life. To be content is about comfort. You expressed it so well and I love all the reasons that establish the comfort. We all need to take time out for comfort.....Great write. Voting up++++ and pinning.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Great ideas. It would be very hard to enjoy even a simple comfort if we did not supply them to others. I imagine most of us do. Hard to imagine someone who does not. Hope we neither know one!

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Kathryn. Thank y ou for reading this one. These things just happen to me and I learn more about myself every time. I tell others that I am nothing more than a student in this life and the classroom just keeps getting larger. I have so much more to learn.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this.

  • Kathryn Stratford profile image

    Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

    That was beautiful. I like that you gave your own thoughts of the word before you looked at the definition, and re-evaluated your opinon once you read it. I also like your last remarks. It is okay to be comfortable, as long as we are also helping others feel comfortable. It is nice to dwell on a word, and really think about the meaning, and what can be learned from it. Thank you for sharing this with us.