From age 3 to about 5, I had a constant companion. It was my stuffed Smokey Bear doll. I didn’t care that the character sought to build awareness about forest fire prevention. I just knew that when I was scared, lonely, anxious, depressed, sleepy, or simply fine, holding Smokey in one hand and sucking the thumb of the other made me feel better. I went through at least three Smokeys in those years. Each time I got a new one it took at least a few weeks before it felt right.

Nowadays I don’t have Smokey. I still do have many times where I feel scared, lonely, anxious, sleepy, or simply fine, however. A hug from my partner, playing guitar, singing out loud, watching TV, listening to the radio, or staring at a computer screen make me feel better nowadays.

I didn't mention prayer or going to church.  I know.  It isn’t the first thing I think of when I’m not feeling my best. When I’m feeling out of sorts, I don’t have an automatic thought of “I need to get myself to church.”  I want a hug, a guitar, a song, or something else to distract me from not feeling my best.

Jesus was saying good-bye and the disciples were upset. They were confused. They didn’t know what was coming next. And Jesus didn’t tell them to go to church. He told them to love. And he told them that he would send them an advocate; a counselor; a comforter to help them to feel better.

Do you think the spirit can communicate “you are not alone” in a hug from a loved one, or  in the music from a guitar, in the melody and harmony in a song, on a moving, funny, or engaging program on television, with the familiar news voice on the radio, in words read and even friendships cultivated through a computer screen, or even in a Smokey Bear?

What comforts you?

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