“Be uncomfortable. Grow a corn on the bottom of your foot.”
With these words, we Young Adult Volunteers began orientation for our service this coming year. Along with her colleague Laurie, Jessica, a trainer on crosscultural issues, urged us to expand our horizons as we serve in diverse communities around the world. During a week jam-packed with lectures, discussions, and debriefing sessions, we explored not only the cultural contexts in which we will serve others, but also the ways in which we can reach across socioeconomic barriers to empower and learn from those to whom we will minister. The material presented during the week was intellectually stimulating, and participants were challenged to approach others with love and humility.
While I may not have to develop a corn in order to climb out of my comfort zone, the analogy above still rings true. Here in San Antonio, at the beginning of my service year, I find myself living and working in a new city with a group of YAVs I met only eleven days ago. Though I’m thankful that some of my housemates are from San Antonio (and that they, along with the rest of our local community, can help us learn our way around), there still is much we YAVs need to do and learn not merely to live, but rather to live well.
Living well is not always a matter of having the most popular consumer goods or conforming to the latest trend. In this case, it is defined by one’s involvement in the life of his or her community. Whether sharing a house with other YAVs, becoming active in a church, interacting with the neighbors, or just keeping up with local news, in order to live well one must be involved in a community. A life like this often means stepping outside one’s comfort zone, a process that, while uncomfortable in the beginning, can be rewarding in the long-term.
You may not have to grow a corn in order to challenge yourself, but taking even a small risk can open new doors, the results of which can be beneficial. This process is gradual, so be prepared for a long, but educational, adventure. To close, consider this question: In what ways should you step outside your comfort zone?
The views expressed in this blog are my own. In no way whatsoever do they represent the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); the PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer program; Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection (DOOR Network); any partner organization of the aforementioned entities; or any employee, staff member, or volunteer (including YAVs and DOOR Dwellers) of any body listed above. Unless noted otherwise, any quotations or images I post either are mine or are copyright-free. Unless otherwise stated explicitly, I do not endorse, create, or maintain any website linked to this blog or the information those sites contain; nor do the sponsoring people or entities of those sites endorse, create, or maintain any of the information presented on this blog.