"I will not leave you comfortless"
Many us have become accustomed to discomfort. We imagine our commute will be rough. Traffic, we say, what else is new? We imagine that there will be a Starbucks and a Subway on every corner, and guess what, there is
A drive through my beloved South Carolina long ago to pick up my deceased father's car and to deliver it to my son affected me so much with aesthetic discomfort that I was practically in tears the whole time. I had been so looking forward to getting the car. The year was 1997. I took the train down and was going to drive the car slowly back North. The car still had the red soil of the red clay on it. There was something living about my father and his last car, something I could give to my eldest son for his first car.
But then as I drove up 301 and gave myself the gift of the back way, I realized I couldn't really tell where I was. Everything was the same, even back then in 1997. Every corner. Every traffic light. Every strip mall. My eyes began to hurt. My heart hurt. There were no watermelon stands. There were no silly signs, advertising "home cookin'." I often wonder what has happened to our sensibilities, so stoned are they by similarity.
I wonder where comfort is in conformity. I wonder if Jesus' promise to comfort me applies to the landscape and my sore eyes. I certainly don't want nostalgia, for my father, his car, the red clay, to get in my way of being a modern person.
On the other hand, I need help. I need to be comforted by the land.
Is asking for help the first step in getting comforted? It might be.
O God, when blight blights our spirits as well as our roads, come to us and help us. Amen.
About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Check out her blog, Grace at Table, at donnaschaper.com.