Our comfort zones act as protective shells. When we stay within our own bubble or bowl, it reinforces a false sense of security. It’s true that leaving our comfort zones can increase feelings of fear and levels of anxiety. Yet there is value in surrounding ourselves with people who challenge our perceptions of the world. Nigerian-born author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gives a wildly popular TED talk, the “Danger of a Single Story.” Adichie warns: “There is never just a single story about a place or a people.” She names the challenges we face when we trust the stereotypes rather than work to develop authentic relationships with each other.
We must get close enough so that we can hear the other’s story, wrestle with our privilege, and act. Let us all be moved beyond a place of guilt and shame. Let us be moved toward actions that work to lift all people. Let us not be so comfortable in our privilege that we ignore another’s grieving but rather work to end what makes her grieve.
This message is excerpted from “Confronting our comfort” by Judith Roberts in the July/August 2017 Gather magazine. Today we commemorate Clare, Abbess of San Damiano, 1253.
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