Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Of Quilts and Comforters

A friend called not so long ago, hurting and asking for comfort. She knew I did not possess the ability to fix the problem, and that neither of us could exercise any control whatsoever over the outcome. She just needed someone to listen and soothe her spirit, even from a distance.

Later, in my ongoing prayers for her, the thought came to me that I wished I could take her in my arms and comfort her, much as I did my children when they were small and hurting. In fact, when my little girl was sick or upset, one thing that brought her consolation was to snuggle under an old family quilt I kept on a quilt rack in our living room. When she went away to college, she asked if she could take it with her to help make the emotional transition from childhood into adulthood. She still has it with her, now that she lives almost 2,000 miles away from home.

Quilts were a staple in pioneer homes from very early times in America. They were colorful, creative, and they brought warmth to the home. I don’t know the origin of what we commonly call comforters, but it strikes me how aptly they are named. A person who is cold, in pain, or filled with distress can gain a measure of relief by burrowing beneath its covers. The same is true of quilts, particularly those which hold good memories or have special family significance.

It strikes me that it is no accident Jesus spoke to His disciples about their Father sending them “the Comforter.” He meant, of course, the presence of the Holy Spirit, but I wonder if that is why we call snuggly blankets “comforters”, because it is symbolic of God’s comforting care, His provision to provide us a place to be soothed and safe.

As the Fall season progresses and the air holds promise of cooler weather, we know we will soon be looking for ways to stay warm. This year, as you find warmth and comfort beneath an old quilt or a favorite comforter, let Jesus bring to your mind His promise to BE your Comforter, no matter the temperature outside. He will calm your spirit and soothe any pain in your heart if you will snuggle beneath the folds of His care.