Saturday, January 9, 2010

Comfort Ye Others Just as You are Comforted

Last night I went to get an hour-long full body massage with hot stone therapy at a place nearby my house. I got a half-off deal in the mail! It was amazing! I'm glad I allowed myself to take care of myself that way. When she was doing my neck and shoulders she found I had knots up and down both sides of my neck that went all the way to the base of my skull. No wonder I've been in so much pain!

Anyway, the hot stones were the best because I was so cold, especially my poor bony fingers! I had so many knots and so much tension that she went an extra 15 minutes. I was able to really relax except the lotion she put on was a bit intense for my nose so I got a little headache. But people that are "too uncomfortable" to get massages like this don't know what they are missing!

I don't know what it is about me but I crave this skin on skin contact. I've always loved massage and got my first professional full body massage in high school when we used to have them included on my mom's insurance! I realized immediately that professional massages, just the ambience of it-everything-, was one of the only ways I can completely relax.

To get deep and spiritual, receiving a massage helps me connect with my body and realize again how beautiful I am. Also, just to be taken care of for once, ahhh, so nice. As I lay there yesterday, I thought of how I do physical therapy and massage/lotioning with the guys I take care of at the group home. I'm always worried I am doing it wrong, that maybe he is not comfortable. With the residents, they don't often communicate whether they are or are not comfortable. Because I received comfort yesterday as the receiver of massage, I was able to realize that yes, maybe I DO do a good job with the guys and maybe they enjoy my sloppy untrained attempts at PT and massage. More than that, though, I realize like my massage therapist, my first concern is for the other person.

Probably the best thing is helping my one resident get into bed at night. (Let's call him Cal.) Cal has a Parkinson's-like condition which makes him extremely exhausted and basically unresponsive as the day goes on. I just ache for him because he is so sleepy and often longs for his bed. I know all too well the feeling of being SO tired and having no energy to go through the process of getting to bed. Once Cal is finally all briefed, pajama-ed, lotioned and teeth-brushed, the next task is to get him to stand up from his wheelchair and take a few painful steps toward his bed, open and waiting for him. I, being a lover of my bed, can totally relate to his comfort in finally collapsing. Unfortunately, Cal is so weak that I have to reposition his rigid 150-lb body so that-to me-he looks comfortable and so that I, too, can receive comfort. Sometimes this is tough and requires him to stand and reposition himself a few more times (a process of a few minutes). Finally, finally he is looking cozy and I pull the sheet up, making sure it covers him evenly and then the comforter, tucking it under his droopy chin. I just see the release in his face and I feel it deep within. Rest. I know he's comfortable and at peace and that's the best feeling in the world.

To have that done to you every so often is great. That's why life is so beautiful. I am able to give because of the gifts Christ gives through others, whether it is a professional massage with hot stones, hugging and crying with a close friend, or a tiny child that you've known for less than a minute suddenly put her little hand in yours.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in your patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Cor. 1:3-7


  1. AHH! You make me want to get a massage. I have never gotten one, but have always wanted one. I'm cheap in some ways. :(

  2. Awesome post! I'm glad you were able to reconnect with yourself through massage and actually relax. Wouldn't it be nice to get that done daily!!?? I can totally relate. It's nice to see your realization of your impact with others--we often forget how much of an impact we have on others, and it's quite evident in Cal's facial expressions that what you do for him is well received, even though it's not verbally expressed. Blessings to you!

  3. Hi Brittany,
    A while back (October, I think) you wrote about people with disabilities. When I ran across this blog entry I thought of what you had written. Food for thought and thanks so much for writing. blessings, molly