Finding Comfort In The Trials Of Life

“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!)

My goddaughter with her comforters, thumb and Puppy.

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.

Author: Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
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.
I was a child and she was a child,
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.
But our love was stronger by far than the love
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.


26 thoughts on “Finding Comfort In The Trials Of Life

  1. That “Annabelle Lee” is some awesome poetry. I know he wrote it for his cousin, but the words are magical. Another one I love is “the Highwayman”. If you’ve never read it, check it out! Beautiful post, Suzicate!

  2. Beautiful words and post SuziCate. For me I think the biggest comforter is being out in nature. If I really need to think or feel at peace then a hike in lovely surroundings really does it for me. But words, well, never underestimate the power of words either.

  3. Suzi, I live on the water, it has a profound effect on my life, mood and state of mind. It comforts me, is soothes my soul and I get all my inspiration from it. Therefor I can identify with your writing so very well. The ocean and water is my comforter in life!! I love the poem by Annabelle…thanks for writing this today…xxx

  4. Every time I read this poem, I cry. Tonight was no different. And you know what, I really enjoyed your post. Thank you, Suzicate. You’re such a wonderful person. Sending hugs via the net!

  5. I think it is obvious that words are your comforter. Water has always been a comforter for me. Now, my most treasured “me” moments are my late afternoon time on the front deck with a glass of wine, with the breeze caressing me and the sounds of the birds, bees and nature surrounding me.

  6. I love your post & photos and found this comforting in the late night of an annoying day full of trials. …Except, I just couldn’t read Annabelle Lee. I had a terrible 9th grade English teacher who made me detest all Edgar Allan Poe, merely from association with her! Isn’t that funny? I didn’t realize how buried this was because literally, I can’t even read the poem. The Isaiah verse is so beautiful; I, too, find that very comforting.

  7. This is a wonderful post, SuziCate.

    I love the water too. Take comfort from it … It’s where we come from, after all …

    Goddaughter is just darling.

    Love Poe … altogether good post. Kudos! and Thanks!

  8. My husband and I always talk about how kids have their comfort objects, and adults do too–they just switch to different things. Frankly, I think we’d all be better off if we still had a blankie stashed somewhere.

  9. I haven’t read that in ages….thank you for posting it so I could re-read it again!

    When I’m extrmemly stressed, I find a spot on the beach and just sit. I imagine the waves taking away each bit, peice by peice. And surprisingly enough, it works.

  10. I love Poe! There’s a wonderful play written about him entitled Poe. It’s fabulous!

    Yes, I too enjoy the elements. For me, water is so cleansing and healing. Whenever I’m sick with a cold, I take hot baths with some added sea salt. It totally makes me feel better.

    Lovely share, my friend!

    Always enjoyed!


  11. That is so wild. We were just talking about the works of Poe over dinner the other night. I was saying how I loved his work. The dark creative thread that just flows. Really love that you shared that and the Bible quote with the pics.

    It really is a great comfort and I know exactly what you mean about water. It is where I feel most at home.

    Lovely post, have a happy weekend.

  12. Beautiful post, SuziCate. This line “fires are trials and the waters are washing them away” really jumped out at me — it’s so vivid yet so soothing.

    And I had forgotten about Annabel Lee until I read it here. I actually memorized it as a child and for reasons I can’t remember, had to recite it in front of an audience. Reading the words touched on memories I didn’t know I had.

    Thanks for a wonderfully spiritual post.

  13. How eerie that my first love, my first boyfriend used to read me that poem from his large anthology of poetry. You have reminded me of him today and how youthful, naive and romantic first love is. Thank you.

  14. I have never read much Poe but he was definitely a word master. Like a lullaby that one.

    I know what you mean about fire seeming more fearsome than water even tho the force of water can be devastating. And to think it all happens on this “little blue ball revolving around the sun.” (James Taylor lyric, as you may know.)

    Cute little God-daughter!

    I think singing is my adult comfort, singing while nervous, happy and all emotions in between.


  15. Of course that is my all time favorite poem. I found it when I was ten and enthralled with all things Poe. (still am) I also love “The Wreck of the Hesparus” by Longfellow. Poems about death, yet comforting in their cadence.

    Fire has always scared me so I guess I share your view. And the ocean has always comforted me and served to remind me that there are things much bigger than me and my troubles.

    I have a certain sweatshirt that I wear when I’m sick or hurt and it it’s too hot I just keep it near. Guess that’s much like a blankie. I bought Molly a big soft hot pink blanket to take to the hospital with us because she’s always cold and it smelled like home. That became her comfort in a really scary time. You’re never too old for comfort.

    Beautiful post Suzi.

  16. I can say with every ounce of honesty in me that I envy your faith and the comfort you take in it.

    I take comfort in words as well. Books and writing are my safe havens, where bad things happen and good things happen, but they happen to other people who I can live through or with or for.

  17. I agree with you on the lovely rhythms of Annabel Lee. My particular favorite of Poe’s poetry has a similar structure – El Dorado. I love it because of its message of living courageously when it seems that all options have failed. A fitting theme with your post today, of faith.

  18. Isaiah definitely has some great passages for reassuring us in difficult times. You picked one of the all time greats. I read your linked post and felt the terror of the situation. Words, when carefully selected, can certainly comfort.

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