capsules of comfort
“It’s hard to explain,” you say. “You had to be there.”
You talk about what happened because you want validation. There was a moment when something shifted and everything changed imperceptibly, yet all we can see is that you don’t look any different.
Inside, you’re just not the same. A tiny tremor of truth indelibly changed you in one skinny second, and there is before, and then there is after.
Sometimes they’re gorgeous, and other times, unthinkable. A moment of truth can be traumatic or entirely along-the-way, but its effect is visceral and humanizing. You didn’t ask for it, but there you are; a joint moved out of socket.
The day in the food store when I saw Martha Stewart Living Magazine at the checkout, May of 2000, and I thought, “Oh, there’s a new issue out. Mom will never see it. Because she’s gone” and then ran to my car because I couldn’t breathe.
Or that time on the rooftop in Philadelphia when my boyfriend said, “All I know is I’ve always loved you”, and I knew my forever with him had already started.
They happen all the time.
My experience of God convinces me that such moments are not random; they just feel like they are. We are so accustomed to filing surprises under “luck” until the kaleidoscope through which we see the world is tapped and all the colors get vivid and bright or dim, dulled, and dark–darker than they’ve ever been. Something on purpose is happening here.
These moments of truth happen to us – we do not birth them. We are their witnesses.
I had a long car ride with a friend one time, and the mood was just right for some delicious truth telling. I heard about the family dynamics that made her so flinty, so buoyant but private, and her stories filled in all the gaps. I gave, in kind, until we were both saying the things we never say. You know you’re in deep when you hear a voice crack so you midwife each other’s coming to grips. Holy truth, when offered, is an inexplicable gift. When I left her I knew we’d made something outside of ourselves that it would take two to carry. And that we would not drop it.
I don’t want to miss them anymore, the moments that comfort us with an otherworldly comfort that equips us to live changed for the sake of every other person in our lives. And for our own sakes.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
Moments of truth are like time-release capsules of comfort. When God drops a moment of truth, the tag on it reads: Abundant comfort; serves many.
I’m learning to receive them from the hand of God, who I trust imperfectly, and just say, “OK, yes,” to him as the craziness swells and “OK, yes,” when life gets quiet again. Because the alternative is white-knuckle refusing the providence of God.
Like the time when I sat beside a woman who said she’d just given up smoking, and when I told her, “That is so hard!” she turned and said hopefully, “Did you used to smoke?” How simple it would have been not to lie but I wagged my head no, inhaling my comfort. A moment of truth, denied and dismissed.
That one changed me. I can receive it today as a time-release capsule that took decades to heal. These moments are not all clean wins and losses.
What is the secret of letting the overwhelming kindness of God manage that unwieldy moment that, when it shows up tomorrow, will be a game changer?
Trust him now. Start the conversation with OK, yes.
What if these exquisite moments are crowns and scars and you can’t tell the difference? The secret is it doesn’t matter. God is prescribing your moments to make you resilient, to make you well, to make you real, and then serve you as comfort.