A Little Comfort Goes a Long Way

I don’t know about you, but I sure miss hugging. My body craves that momentary connection with friends. Arms wrapped about each other says “I’m in this with you,” “If you need anything….,” “I’m sorry this is happening,” “I miss you.”

Comfort from Animals

I’ve been curious about how animals are acting in response to the change in our behaviors. The other day, when I was in the bathroom staring at my cat, Kali, who loves to join me when I’m her captive audience there, I thought, “I won’t get this from you and you can’t get it from me.” Thus, she has been receiving lots more attention and cuddles during the last few weeks. I think it freaks her out, “What’s up, Mom? Why the sudden over-the-top attention?” But these cuddles soothe my soul.

As a retiree, I’m usually at home writing with not a lot of activity, and that’s the same now, for the most part, with social distancing. I have, however, been moving stuff around, making room for supplies, wiping things down with smelly products Kali’s not used to. When I’m moving around so purposefully, she distances herself from me in fear my off behavior means an upcoming trip to the vet for her. I’m in awe of how much my behavior affects her.

A new family of teensy white-crowned sparrows has taken up residence in a birdhouse on my patio. They’re still nesting with lots of back and forth activity but soon they’ll settle in and either mom or pop will stay with the eggs 24/7 until they are ready to fledge. I get great comfort watching them come and go without a consideration of any virus or the need to distance themselves or wear protective gear. They’ll not have to worry or take into consideration a loosening up of isolation or re-entering society as things improve. I am calmed by their laser focus on the perpetuation of their family.

Speaking of animals we love, did you hear about the dolphins and swans that are returning to the canals in Venice because they have no competition from tourists and gondolas? And I love the story about the penguins at the Chicago Aquarium being let out of their cages to visit other animals.

Here’s to animals giving and getting the love we crave in this time of our modern pandemic.

Comfort from Humans

Mr. Roger’s mother used to tell him as a boy when he was scared:  “Look for the helpers.” While the use of this statement has been described as hackneyed and overused, I think it applies these days. When so many of us are operating with little or no understanding of the magnitude of COVID-19 – and, yes, I’m sure we think we know more than we actually do – looking to the doctors, nurses, health professionals and administrators as the helpers they are is a good thing. Listening to politicians is NOT a good thing. Too many ego’s involved, too much inaccurate information, if any information at all, and too much face time when they need to be head-down creating ways to help the public rather than do things that look like help but actually are vote-gathering moves. First responders can create calm out of chaos. Let’s take our cues from them.

I’ve been comforted by friends who reach out daily via e-mail and social media. An “I miss you” text goes a long way to making me feel cared for by my friends. And I, in turn, do this for others.

When I’m feeling like poor me, all I have to do is remember those who are living paycheck to paycheck, those who have small children who are struggling and not understanding this kind of quarantine, and the parents of those children. I have great empathy for people who have saved and saved for a vacation that has been or soon will be scraped (I too, had to let go of a completely paid for trip through the Mediterranean this spring). Small businesses of all kinds are taking a significant hit, many folding in spite of their best efforts.

Today I am grateful for a roof over my head, my health, and loving friends and pets. The needs of many are all around us. Someone needs comfort.

What can you do to comfort someone else?