Tuesday, May 17, 2011
“I’m very concerned about the health of my soul when I don’t experience discomfort.”
This is a quote I’ve been mulling lately. The pastor of the church I’ve been going to said it as a small line in a sermon a couple of weeks ago. I think this is a good quote to ponder, whether a religious person or not.
Isn’t it only natural to avoid discomfort? Wanting to avoid it is inherent in the definition of discomfort I think. Discomfort can be big and tragic or small and minor. Most all of the actions I take are done in an attempt to avoid discomfort. But, with my move out here I willingly jumped off the edge of comfort and into the swirling discomfort below. However, it’s like I reset myself at that point and have followed it up with a quest to once again avoid discomfort and find comfort again.
Natural? Sure. Best? I don’t know.
I think the most difficult things I have gone through in my life have also been the most soul satisfying things I have gone through. They are the things that I have made my way through and can’t imagine who I would be without having gone through them. Isn’t this odd? If avoiding discomfort was a purely a survival of the fittest sort of instinct, then why would I feel better for the discomfort and pain I have experienced? Truthfully, this is a nice thing for hindsight, but living with it in the moment proves more difficult.
All I know is that in my head, discomfort equals bad and yet somehow discomfort equals better.
I think it may be a matter of balance that we get skewed. On one end is seeking out discomfort, which is masochistic and weird. On the other end is complete comfort, whichI find strangely uncomfortable in the long run. I think we all ultimately live in the middle somewhere. The question is, how well do we live in the middle?
I have a tendency to get freaked out by tensions in my life.
Some tensions are freak out worthy.
Yet, I tend to add to that by getting freaked out by the fact that there is tension at all.
I write this not as someone who has figured anything out, but as someone who is trying to work through living with tensions. Here are my tensions, in no particular order: money, work, long distance, when to have children, doing the right thing, etc. Some are greater in my current situation, but they will always be around in some form.
Here’s my new theory I’ve come up with while typing this.
We should treat tensions and discomforts like a frienemy.
You know what I’m talking about, friend + enemy = frienemy. We all have them. They’re the friend that you also have real problems with. If this is the first you’ve heard the term, I certainly didn’t invent it. If a friend is someone you wish the best for, and an enemy is someone you wish the worst for, a frienemy is someone you’re friendly with, but you aren’t too upset when something goes wrong for them. Your friendship has circumstances where you can’t really find a way out of the “friendship,” but you’re not ever going to be friends friends.
Discomfort is going to always be around, you’re not going to get rid of her. Discomfort is good friends with Soul from high school and Discomfort doesn’t really know too many other people in town. You love Soul, Soul really listens, is fun, can be really deep, and forwards you great Groupon deals. Discomfort is loud, tells you the end of movies you haven’t seen, and always says passive aggressive comments about your appearance.
You’re left with a choice. You can either worry about how to get rid of Discomfort, or you can give up that chore, because forget her, that endeavor is no good for you. Ultimately, trying to plan a weekend at the lake for a time that Discomfort has to work is way too much work. Plus, if you confront Soul about it, Soul might not come around as much because as much as Soul values you, it also values Discomfort. Let’s be honest, there’s a part of Discomfort that you like. She works at Banana Republic and can get you a big discount (she just won’t let you ever forget you used it).
You’ve got to live with Discomfort.
You can really enjoy the times that Discomfort is out of town.
But when she comes back, don’t roll your eyes and groan when you see her.
Fake a smile and say, “Oh my gosh, it’s so good to see you!”
She’ll respond, “You look great, no one else could pull off those jeans.”
Soul will be smiling.