What word comes to mind when you want to strengthen someone? Whatever it is, I’d bet it’s not today’s word-du-jour in the 31-Day writing challenge.
I’m a words guy, so when faced with such a common word as comfort I decided to look it up—and what I found surprised me. The first definitions, both as verb and noun, had to do with strength. And there I was, pre-dictionary, with images of lying warm in bed, soft blanket pulled tight up to my chin, huddled down in—you guessed it—comfort. That image feels anything but strong.
Are you comfortable? Let me get you another pillow, a blanket, a cup of hot chocolate.
Yet as I ponder these newly-revealed etymological mysteries, it all makes sense. When do we need comfort? When we’re sad, scared, cold, tired, lonely. What does comfort do? It strengthens our heart from sad to glad, from scared to courageous; it warms our cold muscles, offers companionship to our loneliness, energy in our fatigue. It strengthens.
Maybe we don’t need to “get out of our comfort zone” after all. Maybe we need to get right into the middle of it—that place where we are strongest, most confident, most able to live out our unique calling for the world.