Comfort. That’s the word that keeps rolling around in my mind today.
Our new pup, Lily, cozies up in her dark blue bed sitting next to the fire. Outside the rain hammers the ground and the winds mightily blow the red, orange and yellow leaves off the trees. Ivy is attempting to play with a dog who huffs at her advances while falling back asleep and the boys are downstairs playing a card game. I have a giddy excitement that I get when there are plans to spend a leisurely afternoon cooking. I’m comfortable.
Then there’s the world that exists outside the comforts of our home. The horrific mess we have with the presidential race that leaves me in tears and feeling sick and embarrassed for our country. There are people living away from their homes as their comfort is now drowning in flood waters. There are people without food, homes, clean water. Uncomfortable.
How is there both so much goodness and so much suffering? How can I be happy with millions are not? Where is the joy in that? I’ve felt often selfish for touting my own comforts while others are so painfully not. Of course there is much that I can do to help but the truth remains that at any given moment there is both joy and pain. Laughter and tears. Shouts of delight and cries of fear.
I want to button this all up with how I’ve come to reconcile this. To give a quick fix for how to live comfortably in a very uncomfortable world. I can’t, except to say that I’m coming to accept it. I’m living into my happiness knowing full well that others may be suffering. My joy does not take away from that nor would my suffering without action help them. There is freedom in simply embracing my feelings and stepping into them without guilt or shame or attempting to force myself to feel differently. To stand firm in my happy and give a voice through the suffering, sometimes at the same time. It still feels awkward, shaky and uncertain – to a certain extent it probably always will. But I’m chipping away at deeper understanding and often the words of others help guide me there:
“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things
We’ve had a busy week around here and I’ll admit I already spent too much of this “rest” day on Facebook fighting like mad to use my voice in this crazy world but tonight we’re playing board games around the table with the comfort of meatball sandwiches, homemade potato chips and that crazy delicious peanut toffee corn from my book.
If you want a little comfort from the kitchen but unlike me you don’t want to spend hours there to get it then these Roasted Tomato and Corn Chowder should do the trick. Don’t let the Summery-ness of those ingredients fool you, it’s perfectly suitable for Fall. Cherry tomatoes are the most flavorful of the sort anytime of year but especially after they’ve blistered in the oven. And for the corn, frozen would work just fine, two cups or so to substitute for the three corn cobs. It’s hearty but not too heavy and comes together quickly for near instant comfort in a bowl. One more word of advice – don’t be shy with the dill.
You can find the recipe on the Electrolux website as I created it in partnership with them.