Comfort

When circumstances get the better of one's inner quiet, when one longs for the peace which ought to be there but isn't, turning to a familiar and beloved book is a help.

In the midst of the unloading of U-Hauls, of the hammering and sawing of the carpenter laying down new flooring, one could use comfort and Julian's parable of the lord and the servant provided it. Julian's own inner quiet had been disturbed by her inability to find the answers to the quandaries she had put to God, so God gave her material for comfort — almost twenty years' worth of comfort, and puzzling, to sip. "Then our gracious Lord answered very mysteriously in showing a marvelous illustration of a lord who has a servant and he gave insight to my understanding in both of them." Yes — just the right "once upon a time" beginning to make tension lessen. Julian goes into great detail in telling her parable and we see the servant moaning, groaning and writhing in Constable's "Helmingham Dell" — the illustrated lord and servant.

As with any re-reading of a book, new phrases leap into prominence. Julian's theology re-astounds (though she had spent years in getting it thought out and written down) and yet one can swill it down to soothe the spirit. Like a good cuppa tea, it also refreshes, and restores a sense of perspective, but with the added comfort that the ground of one's hope, and peace, reaches farther than can ever be grasped.

 

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