Thankful Thursday: Comfort, Joy

Hello dear friend.

For the last month, two words have hung in my head, circled my heart: comfort and joy.

A holiday card offers these wishes. A song is sung. And later, I spot the words in huge black letters blazed across a downtown building. Words have power, we know this, and while I can't explain — other than longing — why these words hound me, I know enough to take notice when words won't shake away.

Comfort, in the throes of grief, illness and loss, seems a tall order. Joy, in this state, seems impossible. 

And yet. And yet, we spend a few hours together and you shine with a rare smile, laughter even, and the room breathes open. Against our long wall of sadness, for a brief time the air turns light with comfort. And in this small opening, joy. 

I'll keep looking. For half-smiles, softness, and slices of light. I don't yet know but want to believe our grip will loosen and love will hold us tight. 


Where the Map Begins

A Blessing for Epiphany

This is not
any map you know.
Forget longitude.
Forget latitude.
Do not think
of distances
or of plotting
the most direct route.
Astrolabe, sextant, compass:
these will not help you here.

This is the map
that begins with a star.
This is the chart
that starts with fire,
with blazing,
with an ancient light
that has outlasted
generations, empires,
cultures, wars.

Look starward once,
then look away.
Close your eyes
and see how the map
begins to blossom
behind your lids,
how it constellates,
its lines stretching out
from where you stand.

You cannot see it all,
cannot divine the way
it will turn and spiral,
cannot perceive how
the road you walk
will lead you finally inside,
through the labyrinth
of your own heart
and belly
and lungs.

But step out
and you will know
what the wise who traveled
this path before you
the treasure in this map
is buried
not at journey’s end
but at its beginning.

—Jan Richardson


It's Thankful Thursday, the first of the fresh year. Please join me in expressing appreciation for people, places, poems and more. What are you thankful for today?