Over coffee with a friend last week, our conversation moved to gratitude for our group of friends who are all widowed. She commented we find comfort in each other’s company. One might assume she meant offering tissues and hosting a pity party complete with candles. No, not at all.As she shared thoughts on the comfort our friends give to each other, we looked at that word “comfort”. Both of us took Latin in high school. (Much to our surprise, we actually remember some of it.) One word stands out on a page to this day.
Fortis, forte: strong, powerful, brave.
“Fort”-strong, powerful and brave is in the word–comfort-– a word we often associate with quietness.
The prefix “com” gives another dimension: “with,” “together,” “in association”.
Comfort: strong with you; brave together.
We don’t have pity parties but pour strength into each other. Yes, comfort is a gentle arm around a shoulder, offering a tissue, sharing a common experience, and even crying along with someone in pain. But comfort is presence and pouring strength into each other to move forward, often in unknown and unfamiliar ways. It’s being brave together.
In Jennifer Rothschild’s book, Psalm 23: The Shepherd with Me, she says, “When we are comforted sheep, we can comfort other sheep. We can be the ones God uses to strengthen other valley-walking women.”
Forte, a notation written in a musical composition, tells the performer to play notes with power and strength. I believe that’s what my friends do for each other: living with power and strength as we encourage one another.
And if you were to attend one of our lunches or Bible study gatherings, you’d also hear that we are loud..
Look at comfort in a new way. How can you pour strength into someone today?
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)