Thursday, February 19, 2009


A neighbour of mine from years ago grew up in South Africa. There were a lot of things interesting about this lady and her family which maybe I will get to in a future blog, however the one thing I remember about her this morning was a word she used when she was feeling just not 100%. She used the term “feeling tender”. I guess this term could be applied to a lot of physical or emotional states, but she used it particularly to describe the times when one is feeling just a bit down. She used the word to mean that one needed to be treated with tenderness and it was a lovely idea. I thought it was an excellent expression and I can’t think of a more appropriate word.

You can feel “tender” because you are suffering from some setback, some disappointment or perhaps for us in the northern climate, just because of the lack of warm weather.
When you are feeling a bit “tender” what you need is comfort. One comfort that first comes to mind is food. There are a whole category of foods termed “comfort food”. Sadly, comfort food, at least for me, equals pounds of weight to later lose, so I try not to resort to comfort food.

Comfort best comes from the care and concern expressed by family and friends. Yesterday, my daughter Tegan called me at work to say that she was still feeling unwell and in fact feeling a bit worse. The best I could do for her was offer her motherly comfort, along with some advice on what to do to help her sore throat get better. I think the “comfort” I offered helped as much as the advice I gave.

Another example of comfort given by friends, was a note I received last week from a regular blog reader of mine. He was wondering if I was OK since my blog was late and it was the weekend when I am usually prompt. Just knowing that someone cares in itself gives comfort.

The comfort that came to me this morning, is perhaps not what you would view as conventional “comfort”. I get great comfort in waking in the early hours before the alarm goes off. If I have gone to sleep at a decent hour, I often wake before the alarm goes off, maybe around 5 a.m.. This represents wonderful “found time”, with no obligations for that time. It always makes me feel good.

When the kids were all at home, I would wake and make coffee and sit in the quiet house and just enjoy some me time. With 5 kids at home you can imagine it was the only time that I had some piece and quiet. Now that they are not at home, this early morning waking serves an entirely different purpose.

Some days I might just stretch and smile and then go back to sleep to grab another bit of shut eye. In days gone by when I shared my bed, I would often just roll over and tuck in with my partner, feeling the warmth of his body next to mine and feeling good for the physical connection. These days I might just cuddle with Bella who is always a ready companion.

More often, I will just lie there in the darkness, swaddled in the warm bed covers, in the quite pre dawn hours, letting my mind wander through and around half formed thoughts, seeking the kernel which it wants to examine further.

Often, that might be work related items, something I didn't get to in my work day which needs the attention of a rested and uncluttered mind. Other days, when I might have a personal issue at the forefront of my mind, it gives me an opportunity to sort through my feelings, giving equal time to logic and emotion to come to an understanding of how I want to proceed. With a clear mind I am able to see clearly and to feel confident about any course of action I might decide on or decision I might make.

In either case, this early morning hour is gold to me and worth at least 10 of the usual hours with distractions, tiredness and all the while multi tasking the days activities.
So I start my day today having had my “comfort”.

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