Southern Comfort is a liqueur invented by a bartender in New Orleans in the 1870s. The branding is ingenious. Life in and around The Big Easy is supposed to be, well, easy, isn’t it? And intoxicating as well, with cocktails wrought in the French Quarter.
Well, life isn’t always comforting nor intoxicating. For one thing, Southern Comfort is sold in varying strengths. If you are not observant, you may purchase less than 100 proof. And life in the South can be less than 100 proof comfort, too.
I moved north to Louisiana about six months ago, after nearly a decade in Honduras. I love home comforts, again. Soft beds, bathtubs, hot water, regular electricity, English spoken everywhere are very nice comforts.
Louisiana living isn’t paradise. I am reminded, in often rude ways, that my dog is too loud. Well, in Honduras, everyone and everything is loud. Amplified music and amplified dog barking were the norm, not the exception.
I forgot about the zealousness of rules here. There are laws regulating everything, some of which are very costly. I can’t drive without insurance in Louisiana. I have to buy homeowner’s insurance in order to qualify for a bank loan. Even getting a library card involves multiple forms wanting reams of personal information.
Then, there’s the high cost of comfort. I can’t buy a bag of fruit from a truck vendor on the corner. It’s against the law. Instead I have to pay high supermarket prices or even higher prices at legally sanctioned farmer’s market, who pass on the city fees to me, the consumer.
My very identity feels under siege as I adjust to life in the US again. Thank God I have had a period of time to adjust before I need to work again. All of this comfort is sometimes quite uncomfortable as I make the transition to my birth country.
Jesus promised in his last words to his disciples that in his place he would send The Comforter after he left this life. He was referring to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. I am glad that I can ask daily for the Spirit to dwell in this place, namely within me, so that wherever I live, I can have the comforting presence of God guiding me along the unexpected paths of life.
That’s true comfort, knowing Him, whether I live in a developing country or in the midst of southern comfort once again.
This entry is linked to Velvet Ashes, where expatriates and mission-minded folks are pondering what comfort means this week.