“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” ~Isaiah 43:2
This is my favorite Bible passage. While I do not claim to be a Bible scholar or an overly religious person as in the means of resting my faith in a religious institution, I do have a personal relationship with God and find comfort in certain verses.
This is a verse that soothes me. I can recite it in my mind whether I am lonely, uncomfortable, or downright burdened. I feel it offers constant protection. From what? The stresses of life. And yes, we all have stress.
I find comfort in water. It is an element that relieves tension from both my body and mind. Maybe, it is the idea of the water providing me with comfort, yet not overwhelming me. Maybe, it is more of knowing He is always with me. Maybe, it is a reminder of His presence.
I guess in this passage I view the fire as more threatening even though I know that water can be just as dangerous. I know fires can burn and waters can flood, drown, and devastate. But water is also refreshing and cleansing. And yes, I know fires heat, cook, and sterilize. And I’ve shared some wonderful moments in candlelight or over an open roaring campfire. But water rejuvenates. I guess I feel more like fires are trials and the waters are washing them away…and knowing regardless that He’s by my side to protect me.
I am also at home with a crisp wind in my face, climbing rocks, or digging in the dirt. I find comfort in all of the elements. I guess we can establish that I am a girl who feels at home in nature. (As long as I have Dirt Man near by for protection from the really wild things, like snakes, bears, and bobcats, out there!)
We do many things to comfort ourselves in life. These are often referred to as nervous habits with adults. Really they are no more than soothers or comforters, much like a pacifier given to a baby. Many children suck their thumbs or carry blankets or objects of affection. As adults we have similar habits but they come in the forms of thumb twiddling, teeth sucking, finger or foot tapping, hair twirling, and necklace and earring fingering. We find many ways to find solace in an often cruel world or in moments of particular distress.
Words have always been my comforter. Words soothe my soul along the same lines as water. It’s a world in which I feel I belong. Often words I have long forgotten will come back when needed. For example, the perfect words were delivered in the most critical time in my life. If I try to remember words, I usually can’t for the life of me, but when I need them they appear out of nowhere. Often the words that comfort me would not support the average person. Most people would consider Poe to be a morbid writer, including “Annabel Lee” which is my absolute favorite of all time. The cadence of “Annabel Lee” pacifies me from the inside out.
I leave you with this today.
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love -
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason
(as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.