Comfort is a subject that is a very complicated one for me. I want to say that finding comfort is important in life, but I also question whether or not the things that I place my comfort in have the ability to actually comfort me. The older I get, the more I see the importance of finding my comfort from God alone, but there is a sort of nostalgia that I think is valuable in the rituals of life. Every culture and family has traditions in place in order to remind people of their values, of their history, and their relation to the world. I am a huge traditionalist in the sense that I love them. Keeping traditions in my life remind me of my childhood, my heritage, and they help me remember. There are comforts that traditions bring, which I think are valid and worth feeling. Now, there is a kind of tradition that I have not talked about yet, which is a tradition with self. There a “rituals” that I have performed for the majority of my life, and when I am feeling stressed, nostalgic, homesick, or just weary, I go back to them.
So, in order to understand what my personal traditions are, I wrote a long list of the things that bring me comfort. They include small and large things, some relatable to a wider audience, and some deeply specific to me.
Dipping cookies in hot chocolate, burning a candle, the sound of books being checked out, putting on warm clothes from the dryer, soft blankets, warming my feet by the fire, lonely walks in the rain, fairy lights, tea bags with notes on them, keeping chocolates in a mug, watching nostalgic movies on the daily, eating warm soup with bread, drinking a whole pot of tea by myself, cooking in the kitchen while listening to Andrea Bocelli, filling a paintbrush with paint, relaxing to music that holds memory for me, getting back tickles, swimming in a lake, smelling wet leaves, cleaning snow off of a frozen pond, camping in the mountains, late night conversations about the universe, the sparkle of snow, cobblestone roads, dried teas and flowers, reading a children’s book, bundling up in the winter, bubble baths, singing hymns, going to the ballet, dancing alone, talking to God all night, cozy attics full of toys, holding my parent’s hands, cleaning up my room while listening to Norah Jones, opening my window when it is snowing, late night painting, tent forts with stuffed animals, family devotions, sprinkling pixie dust on the Christmas tree on Christmas eve and then staring at the lit tree while thinking about God, and many many more.
Yeah, the list is overwhelming. Some are more relatable than others, and some hold more emotional meaning than others. Once I wrote these all down, I suddenly wanted to talk about the aspects of these things that I found valuable. However, for the sake of length, we’re just going to focus on a few relatable ones.
Watching a nostalgic movie, with stuffed animals, a soft blanket, some hot chocolate, and fairy lights.
This one combines several comforts in my life. I could get super deep and say that wrapping up in a blanket reminds me of the value of focusing on God and his refuge rather than on the world. I said it. I love putting my body and mind in places that make me feel protected and at peace. I watch Disney movies, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, and many many more movies. I love watching a movie that comforts me and remembering all the times in my life in which I watched the movie. Hot chocolate is a given, because chocolate. Stuffed animals are a piece of childhood, and fairy lights bring warm light.
Late night painting.
A huge tradition that I have with myself is watching nostalgic movies while painting or drawing for literally hours. I get out my box of paints and put on a good movie or show. As seen here, I am watching Gilmore Girls, because I love it and it reminds me of watching it wth my mom and sister. As you can also tell by now, I love watching movies by myself. It’s my thing. When I make art while watching something, I can look at my piece years later and still remember the episode I was watching when I drew that tree or fairy. I like weaving stories into my art, like weaving memories into life. Its like I have a visual book in front of me.
Warm baths, candles, and a good book.
I absolutely adore having warm baths. This and burning candles are the two things that I miss the most in living in a dorm *cries*. Having my body relax and feel warm, while soft light fills the room just relaxes my mind and muscles in a way that feels like therapy. Baths also remind me of all the baths I took as a kid, played in, splashed in, and began to contemplate life in. The book is usually optional for me, as I am usually too tired to read a book. But, if I am awake enough, it is one that is relaxing and important to me. (wow, repeated themes of comfort)
Bundling up in winter.
This is pretty much the same outfit that I wear every day. Also, I love the cold. Covering myself in layers of warmth make me feel like I am bringing my bed with me to classes. Those people who complain about the cold simply don’t wear enough clothes, or they grew up in a warm region. I love knowing its a winter wonderland outside, getting out of my warm bed, putting on warm clothes, and then going outside. Not everyone relates to this, but I have been doing it my whole life, and it reminds me of the winters of my childhood when I would spend hours playing in the snow with my sister, and then go home to have a warm cup of hot chocolate.
Again, I am painfully aware that none of these things bring me lasting comfort, but that doesn’t make them less valuable. If anything, they bring me back home, to childhood, and they remind me of the need for comfort in God alone. You can spend your whole life trying to find comfort in anything and everything that will work, but none of it lasts. Once God is your ultimate comfort, the pressure of all the other comforts goes away. You can actually enjoy that mug of tea without feeling like your sanity is dependent on it. Tea could represent anything. Don’t remove rituals from your life, because they are important. They remind you of your history, your values, and can be used to commune with other and with God. The tradition of that is so deeply human.